tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:/posts 2016-02-26T20:22:06Z cory feign tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/597735 2013-09-03T22:00:00Z 2015-06-01T15:29:45Z 2013 Leadville Trail 100 Run

"the real victory isn't the act of smashing through the tape and crossing the finish line; it's not seeing your name first on the list or standing on the highest step on the podium.  this is not what makes your legs shake with fear and excitement.  victory, the real victory, is what is deep down inside each one of us.  it's what we can't believe will ever happen despite all the training and will on our part, and yet it is finally what happens.  despite all the thinking and brandishing of calculators, after so many hours of preparation, after so many days of training, of telling ourselves that we can win - or simply finish the race - it is as if something in our unconscious is constantly telling us that it is impossible, that it would be too wonderful, too brilliant, too incredible for it to become reality.  that what we want to achieve is only a dream.  and when you cross the line, when you look behind and see that it is real, that you are flesh and blood, and that what seemed possible only in dreams has become real, you realize that that is the true victory"

-Killian Jornet

the start of the race is announced with a shotgun blast on saturday at 4am, and ends in the same way at 10am sunday, allowing 30 hours for completion.

we flew from illinois to colorado on thursday morning, made a stop at golden city brewing, had some delicious healthy food truck fare, and did some tubing on clear creek before heading out on my favorite stretch of highway in the usa, crossing the continental divide and ascending from 650ft above sea level to 10,000ft within a few short hours.  we rolled into leadville, elevation 10,152ft, picked up my packet, weighed in, and soaked in some good vibes.  friday morning was much the same... the coffee shop, chillin around town, and greeting friends.  

this spot at 6th and harrison would soon be transformed into a start / finish line and the gateway to (and hopefully from) a dream.

early friday afternoon, we had already completed the aid station tour, and everything was ready to go.  at first, this felt great. nothing to worry about!  the crew was familiar with the plans, scott seemed oriented and understood the driving directions, checklists were reviewed and in place, gear and nutrition bags for each aid station were labeled and loaded in the car, and bib #397 was already pinned to my shorts.  

and then, free of any preparatory tasks or to do lists to mentally keep track of, the only thing my brain could focus on next was that dream, which was, at the time, expanding as an anxious contemplation of possibility versus reality.  
the crew was talking about dinner plans, and i was suddenly too full of anxiety to know what to do, so i decided stay back at the cabin in order to think things through one more time.

flashbacks to leadville 2012...

hunrdeds of hours of training 
too many hours away from family 
family-work-sleep balance on the verge of breakdown
repeated bouts of intentional exhaustion during long runs
thousands of dollars on travel, gear, a coach, altitude training setups
friends' weekends spent away from their own family and friends
an emotional investment beyond my narrative description abilities
out of town on the weekend and day of our wedding anniversary

all for nothing

yet i think this might be what makes this worth it.  the risk.  the unknown.

how low will we feel?  unknown (probably the lowest).
how high will we feel?  unknown (probably the highest).
will the dream come true?  will we cross the line, simply finishing the race?  unknown.

most of the nearly one thousand runners that make the annual pilgrimage to Leadville for the 100-miler bring a support crew of loved ones, family, friends, training buddies, and/or future adventure seekers looking to catch a glimpse of what it's like.  as the day unfolds, hundreds of carloads of moms, dads, girlfriends, boyfriends, bros, bffs, kids, and babies will nervously glance at their watches (maybe not the babies), eagerly awaiting a runner that won't make it in before the cutoff.  or maybe their runner will arrive in that certain state that at first glance will crush the hearts of their supporters: staggering, desperate for something, too full or too empty, a blank stare foreshadowing the inevitable difficult decision that maybe next time will go better, that this time it's over.
a year's worth of hopes and dreams immediately dissipate as the timing chip is cut from the wrist by race officials, signifying the end.  
Did Not Finish.
last year, it was my hopes and dreams that faded into disappointment.   
hardly a day went by that i didn't replay it in my mind.  
to wish that this or that could have been only a little different.   when the goal, as a middle of the pack flatlander, is only to make it in before the 30 hour cutoff, it only takes a few simple logistical mistakes, or a few bad miles, before the minute hand has ticked a few too many times.

as i sat there reflecting on all this and sort of freaking out, ann said something like:

"just relax.  it's going to be a good day.  find your zen and know that you'll have a nice and chill run tomorrow, and you'll get it done.  my premonitions are always right, aren't they?"

yes.  perfect.  next thing i knew, positivity was all i could think.  back in action.

caught up with the crew at the saloon for a beer, some fries, and to rehash the checklists one last time before trying to get some sleep.  the goal of falling asleep at 7pm was too ridiculous.  8 seemed reasonable, and then 9 seemed reasonable, and next thing i knew i was telling myself that 10pm to 3am was pretty reasonable.  
fortunately, it was!  i woke at 3:15am feeling well-rested and excited for the big day.  

rolling into town at 3:40am!

a few chilly minutes of exciting (and possibly anxious) send-offs

the countdown starts...  now it's real:

ready, set...


and we're gone

i can't adequately describe the level of positive energy at the beginning of this race.  all of us know that only half of us, at best, will make it back here before the cutoff.  there are some elite runners here, there are some bad ass peeps competing with their friends, or with their previous times, and there are also a bunch of normal people who just want to see if they can even finish in time.  while leadville is one of the larger 100 mile races, and some smaller races have a special vibe of their own, the fact that there is no qualifying standard and that anyone who feels adventurous enough can throw their name in the hat adds a bit of depth to the excitement and the "unknown" of this race.  regardless of anyone's backstory, we all want everyone to make it.  as ultrarunning is both a competitive and communal endeavor, we are here for each other almost as much as we are here for ourselves.  we've all just started, we all feel great, we're all full of hope, and we're doing it together, racing across the sky in the pre-dawn hours

in the first mile, as crews and townspeople line the street cheering and high-fiving, i was overwhelmed with emotion, just so thrilled and scared and happy to be trying it again, and so regretful that i messed it up last time, yet spurred on with a new force of will to make it right.  as the first few miles ticked by, i ended up finding an appreciation for what happened last time, because it made this real to me.  it's not easy. it's not a given.  the mountains harness a deep, natural power of their own, and attempts to conquer them, be it by hiking, biking, climbing, or running 100 miles through them, must not be taken lightly.

after a mile or two down 6th street, we switch over to a wide, off-road jeep style trail.  i'm ready for a good day, to give it my all.

around mile 5 or so we get to the trail that goes around turquoise lake.  a lot of people gather to cheer at tabor boat ramp, 7 miles in.  for those 2 miles or 20+ minutes, from miles 5 to 7, we can hear the cheers echoing  across the lake, and we can't wait to get there.  


6.5 miles ahead at 13.5 is the first aid station, May Queen.  final preparations are in progress, as the lead runners will soon be making their way through, followed by the hundreds of the rest of us.

crews assemble early and wait for their runners.  if you look closely in this picture, there's a lady on crutches with one leg.  she was crewing for someone, by herself.  there are some pretty badass people around here.  

the sun rises over turquoise lake.  tomorrow morning, 24 hours later, i'll hopefully be here again, for a second sunrise.

crews and supporters (and babies?!) eagerly await their runners

oh hi!  it's mimi and adam, in shay's photo (she volunteered at may queen and put together a great post and some pics here! )

it sure is exciting to arrive to an aid station and to see your buddies jumping up and down with excitement!

out of may queen and on to the first big climb, feeling great

the elevation of the course looks like this, and the powerlines are the bump between May Queen and Fish Hatchery:

making our way over the powerlines, looking down on turquoise lake at sunrise

near the top of the first big climb!

the next aid station is at 23.5.  the course flattens out and moves to the road for a while.  last year i was feeling invincible and had bombed down the powerlines.  steep, fast downhill running for 15 or 20 minutes can really take it's toll, and i had found myself struggling to get everything back together on the road.  this year, i took it easy on the downhill, and while dozens of runners sped past, i chatted with a new buddy, kathleen, and we reassured each other that our conservative approach for this first big downhill was a smart one.
i arrived at the aid station feeling great.

so many people supporting their runners!

(above is another one by /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/ photography)

getting back to badass people.  amy palmiero-winters.  even though she didn't finish this year, she has an impressive running resume, and just having the courage to even try this, or any hundred miler...  
let's just say, if you're thinking of skipping out on your run or on going to the gym this week: no excuses.

after 4 or 5 miles on the road, we turn off and face more beautiful scenery.  
mt. elbert, the highest peak in the rockies, straight ahead, and mt. massive, the second highest, just to the left.  

after gaining some logistics experience last year, the crew went to treeline this time.  it's a crew-only area, just short of the next aid station that is not crew accessible, and people hang out here to cheer on the runners.  it's a cool scene, very motivating to run through.

adam seemed to play the role of scout at most aid stations, and it was always exciting to see him and run a bit of it in together, each time with the same sincere, calm, collected, and supportive "how are you?  what do you need?"  adam also took most of these amazing pictures.

now we make our way through the section of the course i always forget to mentally plan for.   10 miles, mostly in trees, reasonable footing.  1500ft of climbing and 1900ft of descent over 10 miles.   for me, without any mountains to look out on, this section gets a little ___

as the 3.5 mile, 1900ft descent begins, we know that it's all downhill to twin lakes, the mile 40 aid station.  

as i was descending, the gang was driving and hitching their way in to twin lakes.  

the guy in front of me headin down the final steep drop before the aid station.  this is such an awesome scene to arrive to.

about to make it over, and ann is at the top of this hill!

the crew went nascar at this aid station.  we had to add vest, poles, change water bottles, prepare extra gear, etc.  i slammed a 20oz bottle of water, said hi to karen, waited a second for susan and ann to catch up, and before i could ask what else we needed to do, they were pushing me out of there.  they had already filled up my pockets, had everything set.  when you're going for 29 or 29.5 hours, every minute saved in an aid station by the best crew ever is helpful.


no aid station visit is complete without a heart-to-heart check-in with mimi

the whole gang was at twin lakes: crew, pacers, and supporters.  go team!

random picture of a beautiful mountain view from twin lakes:

out of twin lakes and making the way over to the base of hope pass

stream crossing:

next it's time for the first of two climbs up and over hope pass.  the following few miles include 3,000+ ft of vertical climbing.  a few miles take a few hours.  then we turn around and come right back over.  

how tall is hope pass?  for anyone who lives in or grew up in illinois, maybe this comparison to the sears tower will add some perspective.

or as glover said, maybe hope pass is more like this:

last year i learned a lot from greg in this section.  he was climbing very slowly, yet very steadily.  i would power hike past him, and then run out oxygen and need to stop to catch my breath.  time and again, he'd slowly walk past me, eventually making it over the top ten or more minutes ahead of me.  so this year, i went with slow and steady, and with a lot of pilates breathing.  even when i wanted to stop, i always told myself to just keep moving, even if it's slower.

and this worked great!  
i wasn't wearing a watch and wasn't keeping track of time, as my goal was to focus my mind on existing at the threshold of overexertion, to stay just below that.  i felt that if i was trained well enough to get it done, it would happen by only concerning myself with simple and positive things, like each next step, being in the moment, and the oxygen i was taking in.  i thought that any energy i could use to look at a watch or think about times and cutoffs and aid station arrival goals would just be waste.

in reviewing my times after the race, i was about 12 minutes behind schedule at twin lakes/mile 40.  and after doing hope pass the first time, i got to winfield/mile 50 feeling great and ahead of schedule by 4 minutes.  i'd made up 16 minutes on the craziest section of the course!

one of the aspects of doing an event like this that i love is all of the awesome people you see just hanging out cheering on runners.
making our way up, we heard some cheering up ahead.  figuring the front runners were back on their way down being cheered on by runners like us still on the way up, the guy next to me said "front runners must be coming down; no way someone is all the way up here just to cheer for me."  
a few minutes later, we came across a few youngsters sitting on the side of the trail, the boy wailing on a harmonica and the two girls with him cheering loudly for everyone who passed.  
"well, i guess someone is here to cheer for me after all," the guy said.
then even higher up, we came across a group of 5 or 6 teens, just hanging out in the mountain and telling everyone they are awesome, ambushing the runners with encouragement and good vibes..  (4 hours later, on the way back in, they were still in the same spot, doing the same thing!)

near the top, right around the treeline, is an aid station.  because this area is not accessible by roads, llamas volunteer to carry an entire aid station up the mountain, and humans volunteer to camp here with the llamas for 3 days to setup and then help runners. 

sat down for a few minutes for some shoe or sock adjustments, and a runner sitting across from me was looking back and forth and just beaming with a huge smile.  "this is one of the most special places on earth," we agreed.

onward and upward

12,600ft doesn't come easy at mile 46, though it sure feels good to get to the top!

and headed down the back, flying down the mountain, a completely different person than the guy who was just out of energy, yelling out an occasional WOOHOO from the part of me that is still a kid


gets a bit tricky here and there 

especially when this guy shows up

remember this lady?  she made it here too

meanwhile, the crew prepares at winfield, the midpoint


it's nice to have a crew that brings all your stuff around, so i didn't have to fish through this (though at most aid stations race staff are conveniently ready ahead of time to radio back your bag/bib info):

"i just dicked down hope pass":

woohoo!  headed from the midpoint back to the start/finish, right on time, now with a pacer



more smiles



at least whenever we turn around for a second, we get to see this:

back at the top! 


on the way up, we leapfrogged some of our buddies, kyle and flynn, also middle-western flatlanders, who we had met and spent a bunch of time with at the north face 50 miler in wisconsin last september.  neither of us knew we would be in leadville, and it felt really special to randomly cross paths them.  several times we called out up or down the mountain to each other: "north face for life!"  and then we peaked hope pass together!

sadly, and with it being so hard to believe that just two weeks ago we were in one of the most beautiful places on earth and having the time of our lives together, flynn (the guy between mimi and me in the above picture) is no longer with us.  it seems that there is a special kind of bond that forms between people we meet on the trails at ultras.  our guard is down, we're all on the same team, we all are human, and we're all doing these crazy things because we are our own kind of crazy. for the most part, the usual social barriers don't exist on the trails.  no fronts.  just our selves, and our stories, our pains, and our motivations, and we share them with each other quickly and comfortably.  and because of this deeply connecting nature of what we do, the death of a guy who i've really only spent a few special hours with at 2 races feels like the loss of a best bro. 
too soon. 
run on in peace, flynn schulz.  
we'll be together in spirit at every starting line i toe. 
thanks for the inspiration.
north face for life, and beyond...

meanwhile, back at twin lakes, emmy is still hula hooping!  she was at fish hatchery at 8:45 in the morning when i came through, and was still hula hooping, bringing smiles to everyone's face, at 8:20pm when i rolled through twin lakes on the way back in.

mimi and i were making our way down hope pass, having the time of our lives.  we felt like kids.  just letting gravity take us, flying down the hill, yelling out with pure joy to the trees and mountaintops.  and then, we got to the bottom of hope pass, and we looked across the valley to the twin lakes town and aid station a mile or two ahead, and it was still light out, and i knew with 100% certainty that i would be crossing the finish line this time.  mimi yelled out a loud "WHOOOOOHOOOOO!" and many runners far up ahead called out in return.  

a few minutes later we crossed the stream on the way back in, and rolled into twin lakes feeling like a million bucks.

i could sense that i was way ahead of schedule, so i took it easy while changing into night gear.  

caption contest?

amy takes over pacing duties for the next 11 or 16 miles (ended up being 16)

as we head out of twin lakes, emmy is still ultra hula-hooping!

more of that section that i don't mentally prepare for...

and finally, the aid station at mile 70.9

back at treeline, the crew area just past the last aid station. it's late.  things are slow.
crewing for a race might be as hard as running it.  hours and hours in lines of traffic.  keeping stuff organized.  being alert and ready to think on the fly on no sleep.  spending so many hours helping with something and only seeing your runner for a few short bursts of 1- 5 minutes of excitement.   the value of a good crew, as part of a race stategy, cannot be overstated.  thanks scott and adam!

around treeline is where i really ran out of gas.  however, i knew there was enough time in the bank so there wasn't too much worrying.  this section went like this:

amy: "how 'bout that thing?"
cory: "what thing?"
amy: "well, it starts with an r, and it's what you're supposed to be doing."
"it's not easy to run in the middle of the night after getting up at 3am and running 60 miles through the mountains, ok?" i thought to myself.
i am pretty sure everything i said made no sense, and amy always managed to make it seem like we were in the midst of an ongoing, engaging conversation.  beyond having fun, we also kept moving forward, and at a pace much faster than i would have done if i was on my own.  thanks buddy!

mimi switched back to pacing after we made it back to fish hatchery, and it was time to get farther than we made it last year.  
and we did.
no problem.
the powerlines make for a long climb in the middle of the night, there are many false summits, yet we kept moving the entire time.  at one point i said "ok i gotta stop and rest," and somehow we just slowed down a bit and kept moving.  
from there it was slow going over many really long miles over infinite roads, in the middle of the night.  
a few times we scurried away from other runners, turned off our headlamps, and stopped to stare up at the close, bright, bold, shimmering, beautiful stars together.  and we kept marching forward.

at one point, the power lines were loudly clicking or crackling overhead, and there was a baby evergreen tree off to the left of the trail, and i hallucinated that this little tree was a rooster running along the trail with us.  later, even after the sun came up again, i hallucinated that there was a silhouette of an old fashioned photographer up ahead on the side of the course.  and i kept looking ahead to groups of people and feeling certain that "hey, our crew is there, we weren't even expecting to see them here!"  mimi sort of hesitated each time, and then politely suggested that that might not be our crew.

as the night wore on, i was really tired.  at one point i said "i don't know how i'm moving forward because i am in deep REM sleep right now." 

mimi suggested that we just keep moving, and that after the sun comes up, everything will be ok.   and as the sun came up, that is exactly what happened.  i felt great, ran many more miles, and had a blast during the final miles from may queen (mile 86.5) inbound.

between mimi's wisdom shared as the the day progressed, her good vibes, her careful advice about rest in the weeks and months leading up to this day, and the spring in her step on the way up hope pass inbound, i can't help but think that we'll be crossing the finish line together again next year, only next time i'll be the pacer.

after we left may queen and made our way around turquoise lake, we enjoyed the second sunrise.  with the beautiful early morning sunlight illuminating the mountain backdrop, i was back to running, blasting minecraft parody songs and thinking of julian and jordan back home in illinois.  and i was thinking about how we are apart for another weekend, nonetheless weeping with pure joy for the love that we share whether we are near or far.  just as the social barriers fade away during an ultra, for me so do any sort of emotions about emotions.  we can get right to that raw, core feeling in our souls.  sometimes i feel like we're actually still just kids.  we became adults and our brains got all fancy, allowing us to think about what we think about.  and beneath that, there are just the raw, pure, innocent feelings.   to me, running 100 miles is a way to break it all down, remove the complexities of life, and to just enjoy being.

we finally made our way into town, and found ourselves on 6th street.  finally, "almost there."  (in my mind, the only time you're almost there is when you can see the finish line.  and even then, it's still not a 100% guarantee.)

as we made our way in, i heard a guy next to me say something like "nice job, way to go," and we looked over to see:

a bright green race bib with the words 


for anyone unfamiliar with these trails, the magnitude of those words might not immediately be evident.  rocks and roots protrude at all angles.  there are 20%+ inclines and declines.  there are congested trails with dramatic drop-offs on one side, wide enough for only one runner, yet dozens of runners hop past each other in both directions, brushing shoulders, leaning on one another, tangling trekking poles, and occasionally bumping into one another.  entire sections of the trail are composed of nearly unnavigable giant boulders temporarily laid to rest while tumbling down the side of the mountain from some natural and mysterious source higher up.  
in other words, other than the 10 or 15 miles of road, and even there, there is no easy footing on this course.  it's tricky at best, even in daylight.  even with good eyesight.  
i remembered hearing, back at the start of the race, 
"ok there's a pothole here, step to the right a bit."  
"we're going to pass some runners on the left and you have about 3 feet fo clearance from the edge of the road"
"is this working for you?"
it was this guy's pacer.  
and here he is, getting it done. 

and here's walter (who karen paced for 20+ miles). you can read about his 12-million step recover program here.
"A few years ago, Barrera was addicted to drugs. He used crystal methamphetamine, and then he discovered crack cocaine. He was homeless for a time, and then he was a thief. He lived in doubt and fear, in paranoia and darkness, until one morning in 2010, when he went for a run.

he did it

and remember this lady, who was crewing at may queen, 24 hours earlier?

ok. back to me.    almost there...

the gang is all together!  (pics by scott kummer.  thanks for the good vibes out there!)

and finally, we're there, 29 hours and 18 minutes later!

let's think back to the dream, to those feelings, to the unknown...

too wonderful?

too brilliant?

too incredible?


what seemed possible only in dreams has become real?


deep down inside each one of us?

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/598814 2013-07-14T17:00:00Z 2013-10-08T17:29:21Z 2013 Leadville Silver Rush 50

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/579752 2013-05-19T17:27:09Z 2013-10-08T17:25:30Z 2013 LT100 Plans

Crewing Guide

Pacing Guide

Directions to Aid Stations

An article about the 2012 Race

Cory's 2013 Pace Chart / Aid Station Times

? info: 


Cory's Crew and Pacer Guide (Edit)

Stuff to bring/plan/etc (Edit)

Gear checklist/stuff identification (Edit)

Coach Weber's section by section guide

Cory's Aid Station Instructions:

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556124 2013-02-05T18:00:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z beast of burden winter 100, Lockport NY



“It is not that the meaning cannot be explained. But there are certain meanings that are lost forever the moment they are explained in words.” 

-  Haruki Murakami






Stepping into a crowded elevator Monday morning, about to ascend 27 floors, to where the winter sun rises after arrival and sets before deparature, a colleague offers a hushed elevator-speak greeting, asking "how was your weekend?"

sounds and images of the present disappear.  goosebumps on the surface my skin and the sense of a chill in my bones, as it all comes back...

Feelings and memories that are hard to put into words.   a weekend where multiple winter sunrises and sunsets are also observed, not from the comfort of a climate controlled home or building, but outside, where the below-freezing climate is controlled by layers of gear and levels of effort. 

the first scene that comes to mind is 8am sunday monrning, when i had been on my feet, attempting to make forward progress, for the last 22 hours and 78 miles.  it's cold.  so cold that water vapor from exhaling freezes onto my hair, and so cold that my eyes freeze shut every time i blink. 

many miles and many hours remain, and over the last few hours, the temperature has rapidly dropped from a comfortable 15-20 down to single digits, with a "feels like" of -1.  adam's thermometer reads 3 degrees, we are far from an aid station, far from any other people, and i sense that we are both quietly worried that we are going to freeze.

"let's try to run for a few minutes" adam says, trying to get us to generate body heat.  it can be hard to continuously run though, 70 or 80 miles into a 100-miler.  

as in life, i turn to music.  a motivating song comes on, and we run.  this usually lasts for the first 30 seconds of the song.  then, we talk about the song and about music and about life, and wait for the next song to get us moving, so we can warm up a bit.  then we run for a whole song, and we are warm.  then i walk for a whole song, and we begin to freeze, and adam reminds me to run again, as we both get just a bit too close to the edge.

adam joined me as a pacer at mile 62.5.  previously, his farthest distance run was 8 miles, and he paced me for 25 miles.  wowow!

before he started pacing, he crewed for me, so i saw him every 12.5 miles at the aid stations, and every time i came in he was either helping another runner or laughing with another crew or some volunteers, yet he never missed a beat in taking care of me.  can't wait til it's his turn and i'm crewing or pacing for him.

62.5 to 75 was what you'd expect from a couple of old friends catching up at 3 in the morning after one of them has been running for 18 hours and the other is crewing and pacing at an ultra for his first time.

we had left the aid station at mile 75 well-preapred to do some run/walk in 15 degree weather, as we were perfectly comfortable during the previous 12.5 miles.  we didn't know the temp drop was coming, so we had left without enough layers, leading to 3 hours of being on the brink of freezing.

getting to the beginning...

this is michael, who i met at umstead 100 last year, have kept in touch with, and who i spent some time DNF'ing Leadville 100 (2012) with.  he introduced me to and previously DNF'd this race, dropping around mile 80 (same thing at the summer version as well).  

We saw him each out and back, and finally, 23 hours in and during the cold snap, he was headed back in on the last leg (mile 90 or so for him) and would certainly make it to the finish line this time. 

as we first saw him approaching this time, he exclaimed "THIS FUCKING SUCKS!"  we exchanged some high fives and congrats, and it sure felt good to see a friend who was confident and happy to be breaking through whatever it was that limited him last time around, knowing that this time he'd cross the finish line.

adam and me at the start:

early on, it was nice to have runners nearby. the crowd thinned quite a bit after the first two out-and-backs, and after 12 hours most of the 50-milers were done.  35 people finished the full 100.  not sure how many FD's ("fuckin' done," the colloquial term for DNF) there were.

the picture below shows what the scene looked like the whole time.  run 100 yards of this course and you've seen what the entire course looks like, with a bit of variation added when the canal is on the left (back) instead of the right (out).

dramatic change in scenery, a lock:
 we'll come back to this part: 
mile 50 aid station:

i had forgotten to eat for the last few hours, or just didn't care to, so i ate nearly an entire pizza and a grilled cheese sandwich or three.  eating 1000 calories at once is great to get things back to normal, though it's not too helpful when you need to keep moving forward, preferrably by running.

imagine being in the cold for 3 hours (after being the cold for 12 hours).  then imagine sitting in front of this:

then imagine convincing yourself to go back out into the cold for 3 more hours.

many hours earlier, around mile 22, i reached down to untie or change the knot on my shoe, because it seemed like the shoelaces may have been digging into to some tendons on my left foot.  the shoelace was perfectly loose, so the ankle pain didn't make sense, or maybe had a different cause.

after standing up from a bit of rest in a foldy chair near that cozy heater at mile 50, it is revealed that the previously felt ankle pain was due to twist on an uneven surface (packed snow) , and is maybe something more like a sprain.  every step hurts.  every step fucking kills. heading out after mile 50, it hurts a lot to run, and walking hurts more than running.  it is also quite cold.


gasport aid station.  just like the previous heater, imagine being freezing, and then seeing this, and knowing there are miles and hours to go...



middleport aid station, at the 12.5/37.5/62.5/87.5 mile mark, is a town hall type room connected to a laundromat, which comes in handy for runners drying clothes.


this was around 1am, just before adam set out to pace me.  i asked if there were shifts here, because these ladies were at the start 18 hours earlier, and they explained that this is their aid station and they are proud of it and that's why they do it their way, for the full duration of the race.

adam made it 25 miles and did great!  around mile 85 the cold snap broke and i was feeling good.  here he is, guiding me into the aid station at 87.5:

rolled out of the 87.5 aid station, blasting eye of the tiger, dancing along the trail, and excited to get it done...

co-ban!  hanging out after the finish.
getting back to the part that i said we'd get back to...

the reason i was really hungry at mile 50 was because i didn't take any calories from miles 30-50 (+/- a few miles), becasuse i was in some outer-space, zen-nirvana-runner's high-alternate reality. 

the monotony of the landscape combined with the challenge of 100 miles seemed to push things to a deeper level.

as i was running along, i felt a flood of emotions, and just found myself weeping.

weeping for all that is good and all that is bad and all that will be and all that won't be and all that may be.  for everything wonderful i've ever experienced, and for everything i've ever fucked up, or will fuck up, and for the beauty that is my kids' faces, and for beauty of being alive.  

there are no words for this part of the day.  the closest thing i can liken it to as an adult is being on LSD.  the closest other thing i can liken it too is the memory of being a kid.

i remembered this feeling of tripping on acid and it was like the physical universe just sort of rotated away, and i found my self peacefully and conteplatively floating in space-time.  now was almost the same, with the added challenge of trying to float a pile of limbs forward in some coordinated fashion towards some defined end.  i don't know where time went and with every song that came on, i felt like i could feel the pure expressiveness of the timbre of every instrument of every song, and that everything in the music and beyond was expressing universal joy.

and the being a kid part...  
pure emotions.  
before we learn to think this or feel that, we just are.  
we exist and we know what is true and what is right and there are no excuses.    
it feels good because it is good or it feels bad because it is bad.  
this felt good:




getting back to reality...

my tired legs notice the elevator sublty begins to slow.  

reality starts to fade back in.

"how was your weekend?" i remember someone asked.  

unable to find the words to explain the meaning, i answer: 

"pretty good." 



cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556125 2012-11-13T04:02:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z javelina jundred 2012

it's 3 am.  i'm sleeping.  can't though, no sleep.  i'm outside.  there is a chill in the air and it is dark, save for the ambient glow of a full moon, softly illuminating an alien desert landscape.

must. wake. up.  i'm 78 miles in, and there are 23.4 miles to go.

i fall into stride with some runners and make some new friends.  we chat for a while.  one of them is falling asleep too.  they're playing "name two bands for each letter of the alphabet," to try to keep their brains moving, and they're stuck on x.  they are from new mexico, and they know leadville like the back of their hand!  they know karen?!  socializing keeps us awake for some minutes.  we play leapfrog with our paces and can't keep pace.   alone again.   

an erosion-prevention log built into the trail looks comfy.  sitting down to find that it is comfy, i nod off.  right away the next runners wake me up.  seems like they thought it looked nice and cozy too, though the middle of the trail is probably not the best place to sleep, they advise.

what they don't realize is i did try sleeping off the trail, but the desert's version of fall leaves is something like spent cactus spikes, and those are not nearly as cozy as a log built into a rocky trail for erosion prevention.

around this time it occurs to me that a bench is up there somewhere.  i just have to make it to the bench.

in addition to being tired, foot smash thing is starting to really hurt my left foot.  it's happening too soon.  we're not even close to "almost there."

time passes, and there's the bench.  something feels not quite right about the bench prospect though.  passing runners will see the bench and they will be concerned and ask "are you ok?  need anything?"  "yes, sleep," i'll reply, and they'll have woken me up.  

the aid stations is just a couple hundred feet up.  i recall that another runner was snoozing on the water resevoirs last time i passed (the course is 6+ loops).  earlier in the day the ground under that aid station canopy was covered in discarded gel packets and was swarming with bees, and we had to dance around a bit to avoiding getting stung while filling our bottles.  

now, that same area of ground, composed of coarse gravel, looked like the most comfortable bed in the world. as i stumbled in, so did another guy in a similar state.  "can we just nap for 10 minutes?" we both ask the aid station attendant to help us out.  i set my alarm to wake me in 9 minutes, lie down on the gravel, and rest my head on a water bottle of a pillow.

9 minutes later, my phone quacks, and i wake up.  foot smash pain is gone, i'm not tired anymore, and my legs feel...  almost fresh!?  wohooo!  i'm up and out, runnig the next 15 miles, no problems.  11 minute miles uphill at mile 95?  why not?!

eventually ran out of gas, and hiked it in for the last couple miles, getting to the finish line in just over 27 hours. 



collected some new bling!




there were highs and lows throughout the day, and it may never cease to amaze me how the body and mind can oscillate between the highs and lows.  moments of elation are balanced with moments of pain so intense that it becomes clear that the best choice is just to stop and go home.  i saw a runner near the halfway point that i had spent some time chatting with earlier who now said things were going poorly and that she was going to be happy just getting the 100k done and calling it a day.  the race has a 100k option so that your results still count instead of outright dnf, and she and i had both dnf'd our previous races (western states and leadville respectively).  i cited a story of my friend michael who i remembered seing go from being a complete stumbling zombie at mile 60 or 70 to then blazing up hills a few hours later.  and hours later, i saw her again, smiling, feeling great, and well past the 100k mark.   she finished the full 100 miles.

i had several moments like that.  texted mimi during my first low, which was at mile 18.  18?!  i have run a least one 20 miler once a week just about every week for the last year now, so to be feeling defeated at mile 18 was absurd.  in my head i was telling myself "something must be seriously fucked up if i feel like this already, so it's fine that i'm done.  sometimes it just goes like this."  fortunately, this happened:

karl meltzer said this in a recent interview, and sometimes all it takes is a little mantra like that, replayed over several miles, and suddenly you can find yourself back in action.

exercise patience.  exercise.  patience.

as bad as the other lows were, they were well after the 50 mile point, and well within the cutoff limit, so i just dug deep and pushed through.  at one point, probably 14 hours, i found myself just balling, so thrilled to have pushed past some wall of pain and the subsequent mental challenge, that i couldn't contain my emotions. 

a bunch of (mostly sorted) pics from the day:
midwest crew, (holly, me, carrie, brian)

how to stay cool:

second sunrise (i think?)

i did this one solo, without a crew or pacers, because of some thing i made up about how doing it solo might at least partially make up for happened at leadville, presumably by making it harder and by leaving me with nothing and no one to fall back on.  while i missed my running bffs, i feel good about getting it done on my own.  i went to some new place by msyelf, watched the sun rise in the desert having never seen such a landscape before, and met the challenge of me vs myself for 27+ hours.  

was this really a solo effort though?  unless you are in 1st place on a point to point trail in an unsupported race with no aid stations, i don' think there is any such thing as solo.  the local high school track team helped fill my water bottles at one of the aid stations.  new mexico friends help me stay awake.  LA Lakers 'WORLD PEACE" uniform costume guy gave me a gu roctane in the middle of the night at a time when i couldn't even remember what kind of product roctane was (i've consumed a fair share of this in the past).  friends sent me encouraging and funny texts.  zombie doctor (who as of this year now holds the men's world record for most hundreds in a year, which he referred to as "have run a few of these this year") shared some important lessons about bloodflow.  the lady who had lost 3 close people to her, 2 that week, and was still out there, reminded me to be thankful and made me think that if she's out here getting it done, i sure as hell have no excuse not to.  karen (dnf redemption!) and vicki and tommy countless others helped me pass the time, sharing gear reviews, race reports, dreams, goals and life stoires.  during those times together the pace unknowingly picks up, the concept of mile markers fades away, and we temporarily forget about the pain.  we're just there, in the now, and we're together.  beyond each individual runner, the human spirit is putting its best foot forward.  

the editor's note from this month's issue of ultrarunning magazine, by tia bodington, captures this well:

"one of the most striking things is that you can never know, just by looking at sombeody, how they will do in a race.  they may be fit, but injured.  they may be carrying 20 pounds more than optimal for their frame, yet be so well-trained and determined that they beat the socks off of everyone else in their age group.  they may be a novice and not know the meaning of that special kind of ultra pain that creeps up after mile 82 or so.  

the runner next to you could be a junk-food junke, vegan, omnivore, or cavement diet proponent.  maybe they're just getting over chometherapy and out jogging a 100-miler anyway, or just getting over the flu.  mabye they're a top triathlete or sub-three-hour marathoner checking out another sport.  

you don't know, just by looking at sombody, excatly "who"  they are, only that they are here on the trail next to you, deserving of your consideration and respect as a fellow ultrarunner.  you don't ask if they are a republican or a democrat before you say "good job, stay strong, you can do it."  you don't ask if they are gay or straight, pro-choice or antedilvuian before you ask them what they'd like in their bottle at the aid station.  you choose the common ground - without juding other aspects of their lives.  that's one of the great things about the ultrarunning community"

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556127 2012-10-01T05:28:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z a letter to my leadville crew, published in ultrarunning magazine!


cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556128 2012-09-16T05:29:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z running

running 50 miles with mimi at the north face endurance challenge 2012, madison, wi


cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556129 2012-08-27T15:26:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z leadville trail 100, 2012 - did not finish

all i ever wanted was to pick apart the day, put the pieces back together my way

-aesop rock





the plan

finish in 29 hours or so, with 30 being the cutoff.  a reasonable goal based on previous ultra experience and time available for training and fitness improvement.  so starting off, we've got one hour in the bank.  let's maybe have two hours in there for next year.


race morning

no sleep!  4am start.  woke up at 2:15.  

both at silver rush and here, greg (a friend of matt's and mine from ny, who finished last year) and I managed to find each other with no set plan to do so, amidst hundreds of other runners coming and going from all directions.  yay!


Start to May Queen (13.5 Miles)

802 cheering runners, even more cheering onlookers, and the stream of headlamps were all electrifying.  people in their yards in pajamas and nightgowns, screaming their heads off and high-fiving us to get us moving.  


as we headed out of town and into the turquoise lake area, tons of people were camping out, fires burning brightly at 5am, awake and ready to cheer on their runners.


Start to MQ Results: 2:37 (target) / 2:29 (actual) / 3:15 (cutoff)

May Queen to Fish Hatchery (23.5 miles)

the first signficant climb, sugarloaf, went smoothly.  hung with greg, sunrise in the mountains is beautiful and  feels even better with friends

the powerlines up there are where we're headed

out there

 up there

if it looks like i'm weeping, i probably am.  i remember that beastie boys were playing (on random) at this point, and everything felt super

powerlines down (where my day would later end on the way back in)

off the trail and on the stretch of road into Fish Hatchery.  

one of the hardest parts of the race for me to think about.  was feeling great, on schedule, and 100% sure that i would finish.  playlist on random left me listening to time to pretend by mgmt and feeling indescribable excitement and joy.  i find it fun to play with song lyrics and make them about running.  pretend you got this, and you got it.  

not long after this, along the road, there were cheerleader girls yelling for people just before the aid station.  must have been pros because it's like they looked into everyone's souls and called out whatever might be the most inspiring thing for that person to hear. neat.  


MQ to FH Results: 4:55 (goal) / 4:37 (actual) / 6:00 (cutoff)


Fish Hatchery to Half Pipe (29.1 miles)

this is the road section, and first time with doubles of nutrition (plan = refill bottles with water at a remote aid station and fill it up with powders myself, instead of doing a quick and easy handoff and receiving fresh bottles like at the crew-accessible aid stations).  wasn't quite prepped for storing the extra powder bags, and luckily matt passed in the car and was able to find and deliver my other belt thing.  it took 2 miles out of FH to get all stuff situated and to fall into a rhythm.  body was struggling a bit from the powerline downhill and mind was frustrated by 10s of minutes of trying to organize stuff.  did some run/walk.  the road is deceptively long.  

and then, a right turn, and finally we're off the road:

some guy hanging out "yeah man, you gotta stop and take a picture of that view" along with fist bump #2 of 6, dunno how or why that guy was always around.  
shortly after, got to a section where it seems that the locals unofficially party and crew.  there were a couple of kids, maybe 7 and 9, hanging out in a rock field, playing catch with a rock.  kids from colorado love nature so much and are so happy to be at ultras that they have fun playing catch with rocks!  another kid strolling to the family cheering section with a coloring book.  no need for backlit screens.  RVs and vans and SUVs and cars with flags and banners, full of loving peeps waiting for their runners.  

FH to HP Results: 6:26 (goal) / 6:15 (actual) / 7:20 (cutoff)

Half Pipe to Twin Lakes (39.5 miles)

i studied the course enough to know about most of the obvious parts, and paid no attention to this middle section, full of rolling ups and downs.  it dragged on forever.  i began to daydream about seeing my friends faces at twin lakes.  then, seeing my friends became the only thing that kept me going.  

and then there i was, on the famous (ha) descent off of the trail and into the twin lakes partytown area, 40 miles in and right on time.  this aid station is huge and full of crew and family and friends and supporters, a thrill to approach, especially when you know your buddies are in there.

tried to get through quick.  took off nb110s and put on Hokas.  crew was asking which of the "extra stuff" in one of bags i needed.  thinking this was the emergency bag, i thought none.  "i need 1200 calories of solid food for the next section."  something seemed weird about this exchange, like we were not quite talking and thinking about the same thing.

HP to TL Results: 8:44 (goal) / 8:23 (actual) / 10:00 (cutoff)

Twin Lakes (to Hopeless) to Winfield (50 miles)

heading out of the aid station and into the meadows.  wtf?!:

thought about nutrition.  the gu's, stingers, perp solids, etc were supposed to be in the belt.  i had already picked up the belt on the road, so they said it was all in the pockets of the rain jacket they gave me.  checked pockets.  realized that i indeed had the calories, though in the form of the powder that gets mixed into handhelds, and i had the hyrdation pack on instead.  mimi raced back to get glover, or glover was there and raced back, or something.  either way glover caught up with me a while in with 12 gus in 2 flavors.  not what was planned and better than nothing!

back in action.

so many people hang out at twin lakes.  every time i said to a cheering onlooker "thanks for being here," even in the middle of the night, they always said "thanks for inspiring us."  
 the trail and the beautiful backdrop
peeps scouting for runners
hope pass is the farthest back and lowest notch, a few miles out and 3000+ft up from here
stream crossing was low this year.  stopped to enjoy a glorious 3 minute natural ice bath with a couple guys before getting moving
 ran into greg again on the way up (ran ahead and looked back for this pic).  that stream is rushing right along the trail for much of the way up, beckoning runners to stray from the course, cool off, relax a bit.  why stick to this plan and this artificially constrained timeline when you could just freely frolic in a crisp, refreshing mountain stream?  the stream is always just a few too many rugged steps from the trail, so we continue upwards.

got to see tony on the way up, on his way down, with dakota jones pacing him, neat!  he was in the lead at this point.

nearing hopeless

llamas (or alpacas?)

hopeless aid station, one of the most magical places on earth, because it exists only one day a year and is full of smiling helpful volunteers, even though it is located at 12,000ft+ and is inaccessible by road (hence the llamas). 

headin out, looking down on hopeless

lookin up at greg, making his way up

at the top!

over the peak and ejoying the view on our way back down
as beautiful as this scenery was, this is where my day fell apart.  the shoes that i switched into at mile 39.5 were too small.  way too small to be trying to run down a very steep descent.  tried anything, eventually just had to really slow down.  due to the slow down, i ran out of water and nutrition.  there were a few more vanilla bean gu's and these could not be consumed and surely would have resulted in puking.

luckily we had good weather.  even though i suppose that it's statistically improbable that lightning hit that tree while people were runningb by it, there is a tree right on the trail that got struck by lightning. 


ryan and mimi awaiting my arrival at winfield.  go team!  these two did a top notch job for first-timers crewing and pacing.  they attended to my needs, thought ahead for me, made me feel good, stopped me from feeling bad, made sure i had what i needed, made me eat, gave me something to look forward to, kept me company, solved problems on the fly, had to be ready to run many miles, and on top of this gave up a whole weekend away from their families.  it's hard to explain that in addition to making sure i have the right stuff, and have someone there to functionally run along side me, that being there means adopting and eminating a certain positive attitude and unique approach to a challenge.  even though i can't explain it now and didn't define it for them up front, they were it, and that made my day.  mutliple times they brought me back from having fully accepted that it was ok to quit.  wish that i could have finished, if only to make it worth their while.

this is karen, who personifies all that is great about the ultra community.  we met her while she was volunteering at check-in on thursday and chatted for a few minutes.  she's in town from new mexico, was in chicago last weekend, is pacing someone for the full 50 (this is often split between 2-3 pacers), and is doing run rabbit run, another harder hundred miler in steamboat, in 3 weeks.  later we saw her at the italian restaurant.  the next morning we met up with greg, and there she was again; she's greg's pacer!  we parted ways and coach weber took us out and about to see aid stations.  while we were driving through downtown, there was karen, helping some volunteers set up the gates to close off sixth street.  she just happened to be walking by and thought they could use a hand.  more on karen later...
quote unquote almost there to the winfield aid station / midpoint, pretending like i feel ok on the colorado trail section that was introduced this year and seemed to take forever  

ran into http://www.dailymile.com/people/MMCDUFFIE/entries/17405037" target="_blank">michael on the way out, who i met at umstead 100.  we saw each other on the way up hope as well, and spent some time catching up.  hope all the runners enjoyed our chatter "michael and i fell in love at umstead earlier this year, and now we're rekindling our romance here on the trail in leadville, unplanned!  how special!"  also the rock stars were all passing us on their way back in at that time so we were acting like 14 year olds about tony, nick clark, and anna frost.

being so far behind schedule, ryan and mimi headed out to figure out wtf is going on with me

this lead to a much appreciated, advance (before the aid station) mountain dew and honey stinger waffle thing.  ryan was also trying to convince me to eat some honey stinger gel thing.  hopefully when he saw people puking 20-40oz at a time later, he understood what i meant when i said there was no way i was gonna try to consume that thing until i was feeling better later.

Made it there, completely bonked, and the +21 minutes in the bank (over the 29 hour goal) were now -61 minutes. Coach said "get some calories in you" and that was it.


TL to Winfield Results: 12:38 (goal) / 13:39 (actual) / 14:15 (cutoff))


Winfield to Twin Lakes (60.5 miles)

Still bonked on the way out.  Glover did a fantastic job of getting me moving.  having someone open your gu, hand it to you, and then take the finished packaging is the best thing ever!

"we're running to the next marker"  he kept saying.  "all i got," i kept saying, long before the next marker, returning to walking.  eventually things came together, and i was ready to move.

started getting ahead of him.  took all the nutrition he was carrying for me, not wanting to get too far out only to have no calories.  

even though it might be hard to choke down a gu or a few on a long run around chicago, when you are climbing a 2000ft steep ascent you can feel that factory of your legs cranking and you know you need to fuel it.  seems like i nailed the nutrition for the climbs, taking in 100 calories every 10-30 minutes, as needed based on feel and energy expenditure.  

should have thought about what else i might need before parting.  earlier, as we left winfield, we almost left without a headlamp, which would have been fine if on schedule and not an hour + behind.  ryan went back for it while i kept moving.  he temporarily put it on his head. 

after he got me back to life, and we got past the rolling CT section, i started scurrying up hope pass.  passed some people.  realized that ryan was behind me, out of sight, and that i had no headlamp and no salt.  

cruised up hope pass on the way back in.  never ran out of breath, passed a bunch of people, even jogged one of the flatter sections.  contrasted with running out of breath on the 4 12,000ft ascents at silver rush, this seems to be due largerly to a 4 week hypoxico tent rental (no thanks for the exploded eye blood vessel though) and months of altolab use.

luckily, before we split up, ryan gave me his shoes, and saved the day (it would be sunday when i dnf'd, so seems like it counts)



nearing the top,started talking with some people about extra headlamps or ideas for how to get one.  the guys in front of me said "find one to borrrow at hopeless, if you have only that microtorch, you are done."  

thinking that it was unlikely that i'd find one to borrow, i thought to myself: "you are incorrect.  i will do this."

asked for headlamp at hopeless.  no luck.  headed out into dusk, soon to be dark.  

time for the micro torch.  

held in my left hand while also holding and using a trekking pole for balance in the dark.  this particular light also has a convenient, battery saving, 5-minute auto off.  

what followed was a harrowing and exhilirating hour or two, running 2,500ft down a mountain in the dark, on rocky, rooty, uneven, winding trails.

in addition to having no light, we were also chasing the cut-off to get into twin lakes.  i could walk down and surely miss the cutoff, or i could go for it.

missing the cutoff would mean missing a chance to run in the mountains with one of my best friends, and i was not about to miss that.  "i have to make this cut off because mimi and i are going to run together here."

found a group in front of me.  pacer in front, then a girl with no light, then the pacer's runner, lisa.  the pacer was incredible.  "big rock to the right, lots of roots here, this part is really ... (as he falls on what he was trying to describe.)"  lisa kept checking on me.  runners would come up behind us, and when they had their bright lights, mixed with the bright lights in front of me, when i'd look down at my tiny dim area, i could hardly see anything.  at one point i made some dorky star wars reference, gonna just close my eyes and use the force down this thing.  

somehow, made it.  got to the meadows, and saw the stars.  the stars at 9,000ft elevation are like when you cross your eyes at one of those 3D book things; fully immersive.  saw the lights of the twin lakes aid station just ahead.  saw a shooting star in the direction of TL.  yes, really.  heard a conversation going on.  just wanted to zone out and feel the words of normal people talking for a few minutes, while keeping moving.  a few minutes later, still listening in on that conversation, familair sounds register.  it's greg!

hung with greg and pacer karen for a minute and couldn't really keep up.  at the stream crossing, i took my shoes off, because i knew i didn't have enough time to dig out a pair of socks and clean up/lube feet at TL.  so i lost greg.  when i got across the stream though, karen was waiting for me, waiting to give me her headlamp.  what a relief!  she ran ahead to get to greg, and i eventually caught them before we got into TL.    

as we rolled in to the aid station and crowds, there were still tons of families and kids hanging out, even after 9pm.  more of the thanks for being here!  thanks for inspiring us!  uhhhhh, chills.  you realize your baby is sleeping in your arms and it's the middle of the night and it's cold and you're in the mountains, right?  

checked in, and almost missed the checkout timing sensor.  

shoes were filled with sand.  

had to put on cold weather gear, an issue which mimi successfully forced.  thank you.

it was chaotic.  they put the barracade up, people were still cruising in for a while.  a few minutes later, even as we rolled out and up the climb, we heard the cheers for runners making the (extended?) cutoff?  it sounded good; it sounded like hope.

at winfield we were down 61 minutes, now at TL we're down ~80 (was in the aid for 10 minutes before hitting the out timer where this was registered). even though i had zipped back up hope pass, this time was largerly due to the bonk recovery time required from winfield to the base of hope

Winfield to TL Results: 16:27 (goal) / 17:58 (actual) / 18:00 (cutoff))

Twin Lakes to Half Pipe (70.9 miles)

started off bonked again due to that downhill.  couldn't stop for nutrition with only that dim light. needed to stick to the pace and attitude of lisa and her crew.  

TL inbound starts with a bit of a climb.  took a long time to get the calorie deficit back up.  with mimi's help, we finally got moving again.  

because i was using the headlamp karen gave me, it had different batteries than what i had backups for.  this made me nervous about the next leg of the course.

mimi kept me moving.

"hey look at that bridge, nice" i though to myself at some point.  as we got closer, the elaborate wood bridge i saw was simply a patch of tall grass.  haha.

even though it seems like we stopped too often to admire the stars, we got to the next aid station 20 minutes ahead of the cutoff!

TL to HP Results: 19:35 (goal) / 21:10 (actual) / 21:30 (cutoff))

Half Pipe to Fish Hatchery (76.5 miles)

at the HP aid station, we asked for batteries, and of course someone gave mimi more batteries than  we needed.  and so it goes, at ultras.

after HP the course mostly levels off, with a few miles of trails and then 6 or so miles of road.  that road back in is a total mindfuck at 3am.  the cars on the road into FH look so close ("i'm almost there!"), and then they look so far ("i'll never make it!").  FH looks so close, and then it looks so far.  We got some run/walk in here, quite a good amount.  apparehtly, just the right amount.  We arrived at FH inbound at 24:15:03 into the race; 3 seconds after the cutoff.  "We're letting you through, just be practical and get in and out of here."  i was feeling great, so i spent 2 minutes in the aid station, and headed back out.  

just fine relative to the cut-off, not so good relative to the plan.

HP to FH Results: 21:32 (goal) / 23:15 (actual) / 23:15 (cutoff))

Fish Hatchery to DNF (~80 miles)

saw ryan again, and got my headlamp back!

the road was ok, i had had enough of the pavement though and was excited to get to the base of the trail.  

before that, there was some weird house along the road.  during the day, they had a sign outside that said something like "more whiskey for all men" (greg says that this says "fresh horses and more whiskey for my men") and at night they were blaring music from a PA that we heard as far as 2 miles out from FH.  i work the county line?

after those sounds quieted, we heard a pack of wolves hooting and hollering in the mountains.   spine tingling.

this is where i really needed to have some time in the bank.  at the base of the climb, i knew we were chasing the clock and my nutrition was low again and body was a bit stressed from our agressive (if you can call 14 minute miles aggressive) approach to FH.  needed some time to do some flat walking, or really slow climbing, and there was so much pressure to keep moving.  

on my back, lying upside down on the ascent, desparately hoping to drain some of the ____ out of my legs.  dunno what it was.  just.  so close.

mimi tried her best. i could only go when i could go.  too many hours of chasing the clock, of going at peak to barely make it, instead of going slow and steady.  recovering from a few bonks is a lot harder than keeping it balanced, but i hadn't kept it balanced.

so, that was the end:

we stopped in one place on the way up the powerlines and i tried to get it back for some time.  by the time we decided it was more likely that we could safely get to where we came from than where we were going to, we saw some ATVs on their way up the powerlines.

FH to MQ Results: somewhere between 24-25 hours

DNF to May Queen (via 4 wheeler and SUV)

At May Queen we saw Greg roll through, what a bad ass guy!

We were freezing from our ride.  But some guys with legit hypo rolled in.  Their faces were pale and vacant and their bodies violently and involuntarily shook trying to generate heat.  

Ate some fresh flapjacks, yum!

how to DNF in 4 easy steps.

or, take any number of steps in these 4 pairs of shoes and you'll DNF

  1. start with the wrong shoes
  2. change into shoes that are no better at mile 23
  3. change into shoes that are terrible at mile 40, and then try running down a mountain in them
  4. change into shoes that are bad at mile 50

that was all it took.  one thing lead to another.  the mintues added up.  

#1 was because my salomon sense, which i love and fit like a favorite old pair of jeans, were falling apart. the smal hole above my right toe seemed like it'd be ok, and a then a couple of miles in, the side split.  on pavement this would be fine, but we're running through dirt and gravel and sand, and when your shoe fills with that, it's like taking a power sander to the bottoms of your feet.

#2 cost 5-10 minutes and gained nothing.  the nb110s  i changed into weren't laced right, didn't have gaiter velcro, and there was no time to lace them properly.  so these also let in tons of dirt and rocks and provided a fair amount of foot smash too from not being tied right.

#3 was a disaster.  the shoes i tried to go down hope pass in caused my toes to be smashed to the front.  i tried anything.  curling toes under, rolling forward from heel, etc. you just can't run fast down a steep mountain when curling your smashed toes under because the rest of your structure isn't ready for that base and it hurts.  it took me just as long to get down the back of hope as it did to get up.  and this is a steep 2000+ ft climb that goes up to 12,600ft.  

#4 didn't help either.  took 5-10 more minutes. 

stfu already...

the elevation profile was like this:




No Type Start
Duration Distance Elevation
1 Active 5:00:38 AM 0.00 mi 02:44:14.6 13.50 mi -17 ft +723 ft / -739 ft 12:09 min/mi -  Start to MQ
2 Active 7:44:52 AM 13.50 mi 02:08:28.7 10.00 mi -554 ft +1236 ft / -1790 ft 12:50 min/mi -  MQ to FH
3 Active 9:53:21 AM 23.50 mi 01:34:40.5 7.00 mi +323 ft +350 ft / -28 ft 13:31 min/mi -  FH to HP
4 Active 11:28:01 AM 30.50 mi 02:17:22.6 9.00 mi -591 ft +952 ft / -1542 ft 15:15 min/mi -  HP to TL
5 Active 1:45:24 PM 39.50 mi 02:20:02.8 4.50 mi +2986 ft +3000 ft / -14 ft 31:07 min/mi -  TL to hopeless
6 Active 4:05:27 PM 44.00 mi 02:36:10.5 6.50 mi -1996 ft +674 ft / -2670 ft 24:01 min/mi -  Hopeless to Winfield
7 Active 6:41:38 PM 50.50 mi 02:35:04.9 6.50 mi +1905 ft +2678 ft / -774 ft 23:51 min/mi - Winfield to Hopeless 
8 Active 9:16:42 PM 57.00 mi 01:32:35.1 5.50 mi -2860 ft +24 ft / -2884 ft 16:50 min/mi -  Hopeless to TL
9 Active 10:49:18 PM 62.50 mi 03:24:06.1 9.00 mi +512 ft +1520 ft / -1008 ft 22:40 min/mi -  TL to HP
10 Active 2:13:24 AM 71.50 mi 02:00:43.5 7.10 mi -173 ft +92 ft / -265 ft 17:00 min/mi -  HP to FH
11 Active 4:14:07 AM 78.60 mi 00:50:54.1 1.96 mi +282 ft +404 ft / -122 ft 26:00 min/mi -  FH to fail
Totals: 00:04:24.0 80.56 mi -181 ft +11654 ft / -11835 ft 17:55 min/mi -  

I am confident that i was fit enough to do this and that i had a solid plan.  Only minor tweaks are needed to ensure a finish next year.  like, wearing fucking shoes that aren't falling apart and that fit.  organizing aid stations a little bit differently will help with a few minutes too.  and who knows, if this year's female winner, tina lewis, can go from ~30hours her first year (second ultra), to 5th place in 2011, to 1st place this year, maybe i can make next year a bit more comptetive and exciting.

Planning for and doing a hundred like this is just incredible.  wtf are you gonna need at mile 60?  when are you going to be here or there?  when should your crew pick up the pacers?   what if this?  what if that?    extra.  backups.  spares.  matt did a great job of filling in all those blanks, thinking of the things i hadn't thought of, and making sure all of our stuff got to the right genearl place at the right time.


hours and hours away from my family, early morning runs, late night runs.  days of friends' lives.  thousands of dollars.  not seeing my wife on the day of our 12 year anniversary.  walking in the door with no shiny new belt buckle to show the kids.  

all for nothing.

or not.

finish or not, it was 25+ hours of being here now, being in the present, being truly alive.  we smiled some of the realest smiles (though not sure if next year will be just the same kind of smiles, as tony's presence (look closely at the background of this pic) is up in the air).  

a few times a year, this little mining town comes alive with a mass of people who are all there to do the same thing, to give it our all together, to try to see if we really can do more than we think we can.

until next year

and let's end with this.  

not long ago i was a fat smoker guy.  so mabye you want to say congrats when you read this.  please skip that because even though to you finishing 80 miles might seem like a thing, it's not. i set out to run 100 miles in the mountains and did not succeed yet.  i will next year, for sure.  

instead, for this year's effort, think about you, and think about how we're all (except for an elite few) just a bunch of normal people trying to find or test our limits.  finish or not, it feels great to give it a shot.  so many other great thoughts and moments and memories are left out this because it's just too much.  when's the last time your mind was overflowing with 24+ hours of non-stop exciting memories?

so the final thought is this (one that you think to yourself):

maybe i could do this

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556130 2012-08-18T11:00:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z running

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556131 2012-07-23T17:00:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z leadville silver rush 50





i want to stand as close to the edge as i can without going over. out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.

- kurt vonnegut










it begins

the only differences between the start of this race and the othefr recent ultras i've attempted were: the guy ready to announce the start with a shotgun, and the 200ft, 30° climb just beyond the starting line.  

around 60% of the starters are from colorado, so the one other difference was that everywhere i looked there were wiry, badass, mountain goat looking motherfuckers, seemingly ready to destroy this course, and i found msyelf seriously considering whether my... let’s call it midwestern frame, would be able to keep up.

spotted greg, in from new york, and it was great to catch up with him and to have a buddy there.  (was even better when we got to meet up at the finish line (he finished way before me))

along the way

seems fine to leave it to the pics for many of the sections:







at the peak of the first 12,000 ft ascent, i feebly remarked to the group:

“that was fun”

a few runners laughed, as best as one can laugh in an oxygen-deprived stated.  which is to say, i might be confusing a sharp exhale with a laugh.

even though it was hard, it really was fun to be soaking in this environment and experience for the first time.

coming down after the first 12k 
progress; printer boy aid station (mile 13.5)

next, ran through some forest and cruised down for a while, then climbed again for a while.  

the second climb seemed a bit harder, and fortunately i had met and was chatting with another guy from chicago, matt. he's an engineer who works at a construction firm in chicago, and the firm he works for happens to build trade floors for exchanges and financial firms.  ha.   amongst other conversations (nanoseconds per foot), i told him i wondered if the elevation would have a cumulative effect or if it would feel about he same with each climb.  little did i know.

i think matt said it first, and we both had the exact same thought in mind:

on top of the world

starting down after that second 12k.  the way down is steep and tricky.  as far as you can see in the picture, we ran, and then we ran some more.

 half way, stumptown aid station

things were going well at this point.  took my time with the aid station bag, realized i needed to switch music sources, merged unused vitargo, etc.


someone at the station to a runner: “how’s it goin out there?”

runner: “i’m really suffering”

me: “hey, isn’t that what we signed up for?”

runner “well in that case, i’m getting my money’s worth”

on the way out of stumptown, family and friends cheering on runners

from there, it's sort of level for a bit, and then it's all uphill, again.


12,000ft climb #3, or "out on the edge"

what edge?  

the edge of what i was capable of doing. 

what is there to see, out on the edge?

this time, i saw my self.  

there was nothing else to see. 

the lack of oxygen simplifies thoughts and feelings beyond words.

concepts of past or future fade away.  

there's no looking forward like "if i do this, then i'll ..."  or "i did x before, so i know i can do this now."  

it's just me.

it's just now.  


simple sentences play in the mind:

"can i?  





fuck it.  


find me,  






made it.  




(no words)"




over the peak and back in action.  it seemed amazing to discover how quickly our bodies can shift from near shutdown to dancing down a descent.





looking back, another runner (matt from chi!) is coming up the hill:


the fourth climb was slow and steady, so it was not as acutely intense.

nonetheless, it was hard.  all these people kept scurrying on by on the way up, just like on the previous climbs.  
"you guys are from around here, aren't you?"
being at high elevation relative to day-to-day life seemed quite different from midwest or sea level ultras, in that it's really hard to spend as much time chatting and getting to know people, and that is one of my favorite things about doing these things.  
it's hard because you are either throwing your body down a decline for 5 or 10 miles at a time, letting gravity do its thing, or you're pushing so hard to make it up an incline that you can't use any of the oxygen that you're taking in for talking.  
a few times i found myself saying "would love to keep talking and getting to know you, and instead i have to use this oxygen to keep my body moving."

many times i had to just stop on these climbs.  bending over with hands on knees seemed to feel the best, and to allow the most oxygen in.  every time, i heard the same thing:

"need any help brother?"
"nope, just collecting oxygen, thanks"
"i'd give you some if i had it"
of course...










finally over the last peak and making my way down, it seemed evident that i had done the previous downhills too quickly, as my body was in a lot of pain and as much as i wanted to run down, walking or stumbling was the only option for a while.



down below, the clouds were rolling in, or maybe that's the wrong perspective and it was that i was arriving where they had rolled in



lightning, thunder, and hail followed.
higher up and a few minutes before this, some guy who looked like a local said:
"we need to get down into the trees before this hits"
not knowing exactly what that meant, i headed for the trees, as quickly as i could


what followed was a warm light rainfall, then a cold downpour, then a freezing downpour, then hail, then more freezing downpour.  7 miles to go, wishing i would have grabbed my raincoat (was forgotten in the car, not even drop bag), wishing i would have snuck a trash bag from that aid station, was convinced that i would either have to run hard to stay warm enough or to get taken to the hospital at some point for hypothermia.  it was cold.  my hands were freezing at the beginning of the day as the thing started, and now they're freezing again.

an intersting thing can happen during ultras.  miles 40-42 before this storm were absolute torture.  body was busted and hurt badly all over. maybe it was the cold rain and hail, maybe it's just part of deal.  next thing i knew, i'd been running for a few miles, and everything felt great.


finish line

must be some kind of a cruel trick, we joked a few times, especially after thinking we were going to be making the final descent only to realize we still had several hundred feet of climbing.

even though we're racing for position # 250 or so, it's still fun to try to hold your spot at the end, and to pass people.  passed a dozen or so runners in the final miles, and when it came to more climbing at the end, i just let it go.  

the two guys in this pic passed me, one a leadman (did the 50 mile bike race the day before), and the other a leadville resident.

as the starting pic showed, there was a steep incline to start the race.  arriving back in at the top of this steep incline did not indicate that final decline of the race.  wtf???  meandered around the course a bit more, only to find an even steeper decline, on a surface that looked like it was fashioned for tobogan descents, not for running.  





after stumbling down that thing, finally, the finish line:







these are the things that when said repetivitely for some stretch of time (like in tune with every step for as long as it stays on the mind), or when brought to mind occasionaly, seem to help time pass or seem to help pain fade.

"pain just hurts"

"fuck yeah"

"this is what you signed up for"






course notes:

tricky.  most of the time, probably 75%, you really have to watch your footing so that you don’t trip.  lots of large rocks, loose rocks, uneven terrain, etc. 

a lot of times i wanted to look around at the mountains and couldn't because you have to watch where you’re going.  this is where it’s helpful that it’s an out and back course, because the part you’re running down you’ll be walking up, and the other way, so you really get to soak it all in.

with the widely varying terrain, there was no need for the usual tempo-synched long running mix, so this playlist of fun songs was used.  other than when a peak song hit in the middle of a 22 minute mile, and i had to tear my headphones off and throw them off a cliff, this worked out pretty well.

nutrition notes:

following the advice and research of tim noakes' new book waterlogged, tried to minimize sodium intake, and tried to drink to thirst and eat to hunger, with some minimal attentiveness just to make sure that really long periods of time don’t go by without enough water or calories. 

seemed to work fine.  salstick+ around mile 30, mostly for the caffeine.  happened one other time, and also had some perpetuem solids, again for caffeine and for change of pace (one flavor of vitargo can get boring).  so all in that’s only 500+mg of sodium, 10% of what might be recommended for this distance.  weather was not too hot, and there was a nice breeze, so sweat rates were low.    this is the part where i do not go on a tangent about “the establishment” or “the man,” or about gatorade being a myth-creating evil force in the sports world. 

beyond that, no idea how many calories of food or ounce of water were consumed.  

gear notes:

along with not tracking calorie and water intake, for the first time the gps watch was only used to show realtime elevation, just to get a sense for what different elevations felt like.  this worked out well.  drank when thirsty, ate when hungry, and ran as much as my body would let me, and didn't worry about anything else.  

food storage:  need to find a better way to carry the vitargo supply around.  maybe it’s because there was only one drop bag setup at this one.   though if there were more, i’d not want to keep going for a drop bag.  at start and mid departure, there are 4 bags with 2oz of powder each, and this gets bulky. 

two amphipod stretchy belts.  one with camera, and one with vitagro.  a bit too bouncy here and there.

used the back pocket of my shorts for my iphone (in lifeproof case).  bad move. it can get really annoying to try to open a zipper with one hand when you are carrying 2 handheld waterbottles and have been running for 9 hours.  the headphone jack on the lifeproof case is weirdly shaped, so it often took minutes of frustrating effort just trying to get the thing back in my pocket.  was taking it out to take pictures, to read msgs on uphills, and to make it start playing music again when it stopped randomly a couple of times.  can not deal with this during the hundred.  will probably just use 2x nanos and no pockets for music next time.  

is good to get msgs tho….




almost wrapping it up

no pictures even come close to feeling what it is like to be there, to be immersed in it.  

lost count of how many times i started weeping at the beauty of nature and the wonder of the challenge.  

even though it’s hard to get oxygen into your blood, the mountain air is crisp and fresh.  the water that flows throw streams or creeks or puddles you pass along the way, it reflects light without oil streaks or dirt or algae.  just clean and pure and beautiful.  dipping your hat in it and splashing your face is a nice way to cool off, and being that connected to the natural source feels pretty good too.




it always seems weird to me to return to the reality of day to day life.  happy to be home, happy to hug my family, and prepping to transition back into the normal kind of of work the following day, everything feels good.  the next morning, it all starts out fine as i bike to the train, arrive downtown, and order my coffee at the train station coffee shop (though the walk down the stairs prior to the coffee part is usually a bit of a reminder of what i've been up to). 

after getting coffee and being reminded what hot, fresh coffee tastes like (doubled up on years-old instant packets at the motel before the race sunday morning), i walk out the door of the train station and it hits me.  

flat sidewalks.  

equally spaced, artificially positioned trees.  

the peaks are the tops of buildings.  

machines take us to the tops of the peaks.

the view can be nice, though it is seen safely from behind a glass wall in stale, climate-controlled air.

we're no longer fully immersed in nature, sensing it from beyond periphery, soaking in the freshest air and seeing the brightest natural colors.  

want to be back there, want to only ever be there.



skipping back in time a bit:  haniging out right after the race, greg and i saw an old timer, a guy who he had seen at the training camp.  the guy was holding an age group award, and we guessed that it was for 60+.  aware that we're a part of a growing trend, we talked about how bad ass and inspiring the old timers are, and about what might happen with the trend, and about how we hope we keep coming back, finding our way to the edge, year after year. 



friends and i have joked about some of the peeps you talk to during ultras, when they say "oh this is just a training race, i'm really just getting ready for ___" 

___ is one race or another.

for me, it's beyond one race or another.  

it's getting ready for feeling alive.

for voluntarily and intentionally doing something that is really hard, and hoping at the start there's a least a possilibiliy of finishing, and right along with it, knowing there's also the possibility of not finishing.  and maybe that's what makes it real and makes it feel so good.  our parents or grandparents or their parents had some real shit to do.  they had to make their way out there, fight in wars, claim new land; it wasn't all certain.  

now, we don't have to do anything.  

but we can.   

and from what i've found, the reward is worth it.

the leadville trail one hundred is next.  comparing finishers' data from last year indicates that for me it might not even be advisable to try this, and that i'm in for the long haul if i do (<10 hours indicates under 25 hours/nets the big buckle, and >11 hours indicates closer to 29 or 30 hours, aka the cutoff; i'll probably be close to the cutoff). 

maybe this warrants one more of scott jurek’s quotes:  

"sometimes you just do things"  

in his case it’s win, in my case it will be just to try.  finish or not, it’s going to be an epic journey, and i am thankful and excited that some of my best friends will be there to help along the way.


cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556132 2012-05-12T21:35:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z running

ice age 50 mile 2012, la grange, wi

pr 10:09

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556134 2012-04-12T13:02:00Z 2016-02-26T20:22:06Z Guest Post: Umstead 100 Miler - Pacer Race Report

Brandi paced and crewed with me at Umstead, and here's her write-up of the experience.

Umstead 100 Miler – N. Carolina - 40 miles pacing 

I was at The North Face 50 miler last fall & came upon a guy I gave an Alieve. I have a lot of interaction with people during ultras, so when he was with his sons & he thanked me afterwards, I sorta didn’t really remember him. Not because I didn’t care, but because I really care about everyone out there, especially those who may not be having their best day. Someone sent me his blog & I went to TNF50 FB page & he thanked me on there. So, basically, I helped him, he got connected with our NLUR group & I guess he was hoping I would give him another Alieve or something (foreshadowing) I didn’t, for his 100 miler cuz he asked me to pace him. 

I got there with my family & immediately see my friends Karen & Jen. Whew. Two solid women who will take care of themselves & anyone in their paths. The times I saw Leah...wow. There are no words for a woman who runs 100 miles with the same joy, peace & tranquility as a casual bike ride. It practically frightened me. If running 100 miles for her is this easy, does she have any idea what she is capable of? Only time will tell. Seeing her on the course, at the A/S, finishing, it’s all a piece of cake for her. Eric, her fiance was out there too, always wearing colors that no doubt were manufactured just for him. A small group from Illinois, but we made lotsa noise.

I spent about half of the time Cory was out there with him. When he started, I would have his Dad give me updates. Ugh. He started off too fast. That first half marathon, darn it. And his 50 mile point, come on Cory, remember those pacing talks we had? I know what this meant. I told his Dad a couple times to tell him to slow down. He will learn on his own, that’s why he is out there. I got there before he went out for his 5th lap, “Are you here to pace me?” I was so hungry to run, but I wanted him to look foward to me jumping in, spend a loop thinking about the company he would get next time he gets here. I went out with him for a bit, we made small talk, but I was really intimidated by that dang Go Pro & wanted to get the heck away from it. So, I stopped at a place I could see Eric. I helped runners & crew members with directions (if u know me, u know how crazy this sounds), took their trash, encouraged them – every single one of them are my heros. Especially the mom with the 4 real little kids, cheering on her husband. I took her camera & got a picture of the clan. She is a true hero.

I was talking to some 20-somethings in a truck after chatting with Juli Aisters & they looked familiar. They said their dad was out there. I looked at their eyes, their perfect skin, all their “prettiness” & realized I talked to their Dad several times. Tom. He was so happy. I called them the kids in the truck. The kids that weren’t gonna pace their dad? Wtheck? I told them how insane their Dad was & how tuff it gets. One daughter then said she would go out, like, um, the last loop. Yeah, I thought so, lol! 

Why pace when you can race? Let’s face it, I didn’t earn my way there, I just got a “pacers pass.” And I’m o.k. with that. I love authentically complementing runners when they pass by. I love having tons of energy & being able to be that person who can entertain, engage, if only for a moment. When I first met Michele & Juan, I remember feeling like I didn’t want to do “these”, but I could use my “spiritual gifts” (1 Peter 4:10) of mercy, service & helps for others. I still feel that way. I have run so many ultra distances without metals, without proof, but with tons of fun, with one friend or several dozen to see the finish. I get to put miles in without any pressure & in a sense, at events/group runs like that of the ultra distance – we all pace each other. Nothing ever goes wrong for me when I am pacing because I am not there for me, just others. Once, I was doing math in my head. STOP, I said! Loops. Focus on loops. Only 3 loops.

The guy who I reminded him of some actress named Samantha was the main AS comic relief. I mean, besides all the exposed feet & falling bodies & “move aside, we have a runner coming in” people who weren’t so lucky. I loved Irish Joe. He just looked like a character, smiled like one & had an attitude we all should have. Until I “got” that attitude, I wondered what drugs these people where on to be happy during an ultra, because I would try to fake it, but it took me a while to lock it in & live it. 

The mom who didn't come to run 50 miles, she came to run 100. Wow. I wonder if she finished. The entire med team was working on her feet for about an hour. They were perplexed, never saw anything like it yet, not sure if they can fix her up & even if they did, they aren’t sure if her feet are going to hold up. As tears streamed down her face & her daughter was at her side, I wanted so bad to say the thing to her that would dry her tears. Tell her how proud I am of her & I know she worked so hard, spent countless training hours...and....and what? Will they let her go back out? I sat next to her, said some things to her with all my heart. She is a mom. She is an ultra runner. There is a kindred spirit there. 

Dr. Tom had been in NC for only 4 months, he is gonna rehab, do a 50 & qualify for Umstead & how fun would it be to be at “his” aid station next year to serve him. He fixed Cory's feet, telling me “you made me realize I can do more than just hand out coffee, now look at me, I’m a Dr.” Always making me laugh. You just never get to meet those people unless you do the work to get on course. Then there was the 2 back surgeries - can't do IM or ultras anymore, so she volunteers. She said that with a smile, but I sensed the disappointment. JT was there too, “u better get outta this aid station or I'm gonna start chargin’ u rent.” So cute.

The frog was orange & yellow. Weird. Camoflauge or something. Up ahead a little more – the snake matched the frog. I love reptiles. I admired him stood beside him looked down at his coiled body & upturned head. It was pitch dark, but yay for my headlamp. “You aren’t from around here are you? If I were you, I’d keep moving,” a couple said, “That is a copperhead, a poisonous snake.” I kept questioning them, I wanted to play with & hang out with him for longer, so I did. I had lost Cory, anyway. The last A/S, he went into the bathroom, & just before that I told him to never worry about me. If I stop to talk or whatever, keep going, I’d catch up. Plus, it gave him time to breathe & think without me there. Maybe his body was saying something, but he couldn’t hear it cuz I was there. I told myself he snuck outta the bathroom, & ran at breakneck speed, past the four people I ran past. The Haiti guy who came back, took Ambien, & showed up an hour late to the start. Oops. Duh, Brandi, call Cory. Viola. Reunited.

The song rings true, the freaks come out at night. The energy I would sometimes see made me think they better check themselves before they wreck themselves. Some guy booked past us, “It must be the french toast.” He said as he sped by. Cory & I looked at each other - there was no french toast, I said, maybe he did too, idk, but it entertained us forever. U stretch moments, thoughts, anything u can out there because one thing u have out there is time. I heard heavy breathing, cheetah like footsteps, fast, faster, pounding, “I AM RUNNING 6’s UP THE HILLS!” What? Michael was dying whenever I saw him. Cory met him earlier when he was still coherent. He was a flipping madman. He said some funny things we will never forget. I wish I had a video of his reflective gear because u wouldn’t believe what coffee & Gu can do to a guy in the middle of the night towards the end of a hundo. 

Oh yeah, then there was Cory. Booking away from me whenever I would have to revisit an AS, or when I would stop to chat with people. The guy who said he wasn’t doing good, but I can tell when people aren’t doing good. He was doing great. He was determined. “Sorry I can’t talk, but can u talk. Tell me a story.” Bam, u got it. It was pretty ideal for me. As long as I didn’t have to touch those feet that kept exposing themselves at A/S’s & on the trail. I’ve never had so much as a blister, so I just deemed myself “unhelpful” in that arena, but I could find others who could help him. Clothes, even dirty clothes, food, finding stuff, I’ll do that, just leave the feet to the pros.

There was a difference between pacers on the course & runners. Hey what’s up, how are you, singing a song, calling something out to them, whatever I did to interact kept me entertained & pacers would typically respond. “Oh u r the pacer,” I would say. Yep! Not this time. Tony from Boston responded & he started name dropping people from Chicago, I think he used to live here. Ed Kelly was one I remember. “Why are you so alert?” I asked. "Just a training run." For Bad water. Yep, that’s the kind of people you meet at 100 milers.

There was the peeved off woman in black not looking the part of a rapper at all, but blasting hip hop music while her two friends chatted & walked behind her. 

The 27 hour guy. He runs the circuit down here & doesn’t put space between his sentences, I could listen to his energy forever in the middle of the night. “I used to care about time.Now I don’t.27 hours, that’s what I do 100’s in.No one cares about your time, sheit, u just ran 100 miles.I run 100’s.Woo.Hoo!Yeehaw!Giddyup, ride ‘em cowgirl.” He must have said this 10 different ways & I coulda heard it 100 times over. I just like time to pass & interesting things to happen. Those two things, I am always certain of in an ultra. I really liked everyone’s accents. 

Have you ever ran in the dark, all night, never feeling there was an end to it, but not really caring? Feeling as if this was what it was & how it felt? I remember Karen telling me, “There is something about running all night & until the sun comes up. When it started happening, I remembered, here it is. The beautiful sky is visible again, trees you could get lost in (heck I would have if it weren’t for Cory). We ran all night. Dang. We are THAT good. 

Speaking of Cory, when he would eek out a teeny complaint, I didn’t hear it. Telling him there is nowhere else I'd rather be, this is where we were meant to be, right here right now (watching the world wake up from history ☺. I don’t remember what we even talked about for so long. Music, parenting, nutrition, idk, I think I just told him everything about me, and Logan’s Run, & my neighbor, my stepdad, idk, just anything to keep his mind on something other than how insane he was to be still out here.

Dan Peironi we met towards the end. He has done 44 ultras (I thought he said 100 milers), this was his slowest, 71 years old, biking 300 miles next weekend, we were holding him back, he wanted to start running up the hills, but liked the company. 

Oh yeah, Cory. I don’t feel like I really did anything for him. I was there, I knew he was going to have to figure everything out on his own. I COULD mule, but why? Muleing isn’t something that typically happens in an ultra, so I didn’t want to do that for him, although it was legal here. He was educated about nutrition. I felt like I could be his company. His bumper, in case he was gonna turn in the gutter. The worst thing for me is someone pushing me, annoying me, acting like they know stuff when they don’t. I wanted him to know I was there for him, that’s it. And to have a boatload of fun. Well, I could be whatever he wanted me to be, but just my luck, what I liked to do, he wanted. I was waiting. Waiting for Cory to fall apart, waiting for him to lose it, waiting for him to puke so I could tell him it was o.k., “get it out, there ya go”, like moms do. But nope. None of that. I WAS “on” I FELT “on”, I didn’t realize how “on” I was until I turned off. I turned off immediately when I saw the hill of the finish. I ducked into the woods, letting Cory & Dan finish on their own & just before I did that I heard Dan, “You go first, go ahead.” I never tire of hearing that. Someone gives up their place for you. So, I see Russ, Cory’s Dad, & the curtains close on me. I wanted to go change out of my stage clothes, shower, but wait. One more smile for the camera. In the aid station, Cory offered me a sincere hug of gratitude, said some words I don’t remember, but I had already left my mind. Now, I am tired. We hopped in the car & my eyes closed & that was that. 

cory feign
tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556135 2012-04-09T02:12:00Z 2016-02-26T20:21:12Z umstead 100 mile endurance run



"The individual soul touches upon the world soul like a well reaches for a water table.  That which sustains the universe beyond thought and language, and that which is at the core of us and struggles for expression, is the same thing.  The finite within the infinite, the infinite within the finite."

pi patel








mother nature gives us a few freebies.  the heart flutters of a grade school crush.  the excitement of your first home run.  a first kiss.  wedding day.  your little baby napping on your chest.  

and then we got older. and we settle into routines.  and the routines can be kind of banal.  those special moments, the ones that happened once and again, amidst the endless magical discoveries of being a kid, become fewer and further between.  

can we still feel it?

it turns out that crossing the finish line after many hours and many miles on the trail can inspire a similar sense of overwhelming wonder, joy, and excitement.  it's actually not even crossing the finish line...  once you have that epic goal in mind, getting together at the starting line in the early hours before the sun comes up, being out there smiling at each other and cheering each other on at mile 42.3, or even just a normal day of training before the big day can all lead to moments of feeling really fucking good.

so, in short...  because my babies are too big to nap on my chest.

next: everything you wanted to know about ultrarunning and didn't want to ask because you don't actually want to know that much about ultrarunning.  there's a loop by loop recap of the effort, a general course review, gear list/review, nutrition recap, emotional ramblings, and a bit of french toast.

overall recap

laps 1 and 2 were great, zoning out to music and making friends on the course.  lap 3 was a living hell because i couldn't get the downhills right and it was really hurting some infrequently used muscles and tendons.  thoughts like "if this hurts this bad now i'm just not going to be able to function well enough to finish the whole thing" kept trying to make their way in.  after much focus, finally got the form right near the end of the loop, and started feeling good.  lap 4 was great.  50 miles in 10:30 or so.  brandi and fam were there, and my dad and karen and jen were there, it was great to see everyone.  at this point i knew for sure that i would finish.  lap 5 was also great, brought the gopro out, cruised.  ran most of the downhills without pain.  brandi joined me for lap 6 and we had a blast.  near the end of that lap i began to feel that i had consumed too much water and food.  it wasn't really like being nauseauted, it just didn't feel right and it was really hard to move well.  end of lap 6 led to lying on my back on the floor in the main room, staring at my eyelids, and trying to will myself back to feeling OK.  luckily this is when the night storm rolled in, so we we missed the lightning and heavy rain.  headed out for lap 7.   this is about the time when blisters and skin damage really caught up with me, leading to some unwanted slowdowns.  tom at AS#2 helped out with the feet issues, and the "not right" feeling faded, so there was some occassional running, though it was mostly slow going.  the final lap was rather relaxed.  it was hard to do much more than walk, and it was a beautiful morning, so we made the most of it. even though there were about 5 hours of really rough going, i maintained a mostly clear head and a kept positive attitude.  like: "so what if i don't feel right, of course it takes a lot of learning to really dial in the nutrition, so just enjoy being out here and it will pass."  and it did.  brandi ran the last 3 laps with me and was so helpful!  we had so much fun with each other and with the other runners.  i met so many great and inspiring peeps, and truly enjoyed every minute of the experience.


emotional ramblings


instant we

i call it "instant we" or "instant us."  you can skip the formalities and skip the small talk when you fall into stride with your fellow ultra runners, be it running a downhill or walking an uphill.  we are here.  we are life long best friends.  we help each other.  we push each other.  we pull each other.  we do it together.  we care.  we.


i saw more smiles from passing runners during those 27 hours than during the last 27 days or maybe the last 27 months of my life.  and we're in pain out there!  

great job!

imagine that for a day, everyone you pass in the hall at work says "great job today!" and they really mean it.  or that one day your kids continually remind you what a great parent you are.  or that all of your friends keep calling you up and telling you that you're a great friend and to keep it up.  that's what it is like out there with everyone encouraging each other, and it never seems to get old.  

be thankful

there was a girl with one leg running.  she looked fresh and happy and smiley every time i saw her.  she was going much faster than me.  every time i saw her i cried.

mike morton

i have a crush on mike morton.  he won, and he set the course record.  i had read and was deeply inspired by the article about him in the march issue of ultrarunning, and thought he sounded like a really great guy (set the western states course record, in '97, was injured in the navy and stopped running, and recently made a comeback).  suddenly, there he was on the same course as me!  about half way through, he passed me while i was walking up a hill.  he was running, and he looked like he was in a bit of pain.  he stopped for a second; he winced.  then, he bent this way once, bent that way once, and blasted back into stride and over the hill.  amazing.  later, he passed us at mile 96.  by the time we caught our breath, and looked down at our watches, we all knew he had a course record in sight.  fortunately we were at the top of a hill, so we could see him zig zag down hill, flowing, leaping, and bounding like a wild animal in it's natural habitat.  it was beautiful and inspiring.  


somewehere around lap 6 or so i saw a guy i ran with earlier seeming like a nearly incoherent, stumbling zombie.  a few hours later, he blasted past us going uphill.  it was amazing to see the absolute contrast in his form and demeanor.  for me, the ups and downs seemed to come in waves of gradually increasing frequency.  first it was hours of good, hours of bad, then back to good.  as the night progressed it would seem like "ok let's run for a bit" only to feel like i could never run again 15 seconds later.    

the course

the course is beautiful and quite runnable.  much of the grade is not super steep, so unlike some uphills on other courses where there is no option but to walk, you can jog up some of the hills without losing too much efficiency.  there are a few out and back sections connected to the loop, allowing you to see other runners for 5+ miles of the course.  this is great for getting to know who is out there with you, seeing where people are at, high fives, smiles, etc.  and in the middle of the night, when you've been alone on an isolated section for an hour or two, it's relieving and encouraging see the other runners and remember that we're out there together.


umstead and similar ultras are as low as $1.50 per mile, and you get all the food you can eat!  oh, and guess how much the event photos cost?

aid stations

the aid station volunteers could not have been any more helpful!  and there were so many of them...  i was never waiting for other people to clear out or a volunteer to free up.  they take and fill your water bottles, help you get your food picked out / put it in a bag if you wish, smile, joke, banter, etc.  also someone runs to grab your drop bag for you out of the storage area if you need it, gets your stuff out, does stuff with your stuff, puts it back, etc.  






lap by lap

lap 1: miles 0 - 12.5, 6:00AM-8:21AM: here goes everything

we all migrate outside. the clock ticks down.  blake fires the starting gun.  and we're off.  contrasted with a road race where everyone shoots out of the gate, it is a very peaceful start.  we adjust our packs, fine tune our headlamps, greet each other, wish each other well, at an easy jogging pace.  we move forward, the crowd thins, and we're off into the woods.

the woods are quiet. some birds chirp.  ahead of you, and behind you, there is a quiet and steady stream of headlamps and reflective gear.  slowly, trees become outlined in blue.  

time for some music.  somehow, the mp3 player decided to play this on repeat, and it was already playing as i put the headphones on.  with a bit of creative abstraction, it was quite an appropriate song to listen to and soak in the opening miles of a first hundred-miler

no time?  no time but the present.  no time like now. 

here's what the stream of headlamps looks like when captured on film.  in person it is one of the most beautiful things i've ever seen.



lap 2: miles 12.5 - 25, 8:21AM-10:46AM: steady start and good conversation

met up with some dude named jeff early on in lap two.  instant we.  he has been deployed to iraq, afghanistan, and africa multiple times.  he is still enlisted, and in his free time he goes on wilderness expeditions to help soldiers expand their survival skills.  we cruised this lap, probably just a bit too fast because it was early and we were feelin great and having a great time talking with each other.  it's kind of sad when you get back to the aid station because it's time to go your separate ways, even though you want to stay together the whole time.  at least you know you'll see each other out there again.  jeff, even though you'll never read this because you are too busy doing epic shit to spend time on a computer, thank you for your service, and thanks for hanging.



lap 3: miles 25 - 37.5, 10:46AM-1:27PM: i might not be able to finish this

this lap sucked.  chicago is mostly flat and i'm not used to running on a 10% decline for a mile+ at a time.  this began to take it's toll and i realized i really needed to focus on form and to find a way to get down the hills that was not slow and that did not hurt a lot.  by the end of the lap the form came together, only after a couple of hours of wondering if it was going to be possible

the downhill of a few hundred feet goes on for a mile+.  to me, this was harder than the uphills.

coming in from lap 3.  determined to keep form and feel better during lap 4



lap 4: miles 37.5 - 50, 1:27PM-4:19PM: feelin good!

good times.  just cruised, feelin good.  probably a bit slower than 1 and 2 but no issues and feelin good the whole way.  

during this lap and a few others i ran into eric and leah, who are also from IL.  it sure was nice to see familiar faces out there!  

ran into this kid.  he is 16 and was on the final lap of his first 50-miler!  

hills are my friend?  i'm not convinced

came in after 50 miles at 10 hours and 14 minutes, beating my previous 50 miler by a good 30+ minutes.  also, brandi and her family were there, so when i rolled in the enitire crowd was calling out my name and cheering loudly.  this feels reaaaaalllyy good!  



lap 5: miles 50 - 62.5, 4:19PM-7:33PM: into the great unknown...

when the farthest you've gone is 50 miles, everything after that is new and exciting.  what will happen?!  what is mile 60 gonna be like?  70?  80?  90?  

fueling up at AS#1, Sally's Asylum, before heading out.  I recommend the 1/2 potato 1/2 lentil soup mix, and the veggie chili was delicious too!


headed out with the gopro on lap 5.  it was a lot like lap 4.  just felt really solid and cruised along.  

met up with michael, the (self proclaimed) asshole from boston.  we had a great time chatting for at least half the loop, lamenting of repressed childhood memories.  he had started two previous hundred milers (beast of burden NY, summer and winter versions).  both times he DNF'd at mile 82, and we were both feeling solid as we wrapped up lap 5. 

us laughing about who knows what

AS#2: Tom & Jerry's Ptomaine Tavern

here's the results of wearing the gopro for a lap.  seems that my headphone cord was constantly touching it which led to a lot of clicking sounds instead of any audio.  the video is mostly sped up 20x except for stops at the aid stations, mike morton cruising past, and some old timers taking some pictures together on the course (it's probably best to play at 720p in a new window)



lap 6: miles 62.5 - 75, 7:33PM-11:42PM: a range of emotions, high to low

before heading out for this lap (i think, maybe it was the prior lap) i needed to change out of my damp clothes, and didn't feel like walking all the way to the bathroom.  what to do?  make a changing room out of a couple towels and change right there, of course!  karen and jen held up a couple of towels, and luckily i didn't fall over!

the first half of the lap was great.  brandi was there and we were having a blast.  we were saying and doing ridiculous shit with/to everyone we met.  the guy who was doing umstead just to train for badwater?  field day!  the abanoned pacer.  the guy i said had beautiful eyes?  we should probably tell him and all runners behind him to run faster because the guy in front of them has beautiful eyes.   people having fun and laughing and talking: "hey, why are you laughing, don't you know this is a hundred miler and you're supposed to be suffering"!

eventually the fun wore off because i was sufferring.  we finished up the lap.


i think it was later on in this lap that we saw michael again, and he looked like shit.  like a zombie stumbling around.  i was concerned.


the scene in the main room around lap 6 or 7

this guy was trying to sneak a peak at our nips.  the conversations that unfold after 75 miles, in the middle of the night, even while suffering, can be quite hilarious!  brandi put him to work filling up my water bottle.



lap 7: miles 75 - 87.5, 11:42PM-4:38AM: a range of emotions, low to high

thus begins lap 7.  luckily, i was down for the count, awake and waiting for the overwhelming bad feeling to go away, and outside a storm rolled in.  it was raining for some time after this. 

while sort of coming to and then chilling around getting ready to get moving, some guy came in who had finished, and he made it to the table next to us and collapsed, right next to us.  it was weird to watch.  even though the medical staff was extremely attentive and quickly took care of him, he was laid out for at least 15 minutes before starting to show signs of being ok.  

we headed out.  the first half of the loop continued to suck.  

i wanted to fall asleep.

we made it to AS#2

hanging out with tom at mile ~82.  this guy helped fix up my feet a couple of laps in a row.  why is this awesome guy staying up all night and helping fix people's feet when he could be in bed?!

this guy said we were gonna have to start paying rent if we kept hanging around as#2

somewhere after this i lost my pacer!  had my headphones on in the bathroom, and couldn't hear her looking for me.  luckily both our phones were on and had enough juice left at the time!

by the end of the loop i was finally feeling really good again!  also, michael came zooming past and was also back in action!



lap 8: miles 87.5 - 100, 4:38AM-9:49AM: let's enjoy the scenery

chilled in the room at AS#1 for a bit.  michael was there and we saw him as he was heading out.  i happily called out as he was leaving "michael... you made it past mile 82!"   he had that confident look in his eyes and we both knew he was going to make it.

as we headed out a few minutes later, one of the guys who i know came in to the room, so i was (loudly) cheering him on... his pacer gave us the "stfu, he is dropping" sign, and it was an emotional experience to try to move past this.  brandi and i felt like we could help, wanted to help, would do whatever we could, and yet i had my own thing to deal with.  also, we were cuckoo in the middle of the night and didn't realized that he was a lap behind us, so taking him out with us, even to walk the whole time, wouldn't have helped anyone much.  between watching some really fit guy collapse the lap before, and seeing a friend just about to drop, it was interesting to experience a whole other range of emotions that can come along with the ultramarathon experience.

once we were out there, i kept wanting to try to go faster (which isn't saying much, i think trying to run was slower than walking by this time).

in response to me even talking about, much less trying, going faster, brandi kept pointing out (something like) that we were in a place that we should be, at a time that we should be, and that we should just enjoy it.  even though i agreed and tried to soak it in at the time, 24 hours later while strolling in to work it really hit me: that was a special time in my life.

at one point i stopped to fix a blister (really, a blister can make you want to stop, when you're only barely walking?!), of course all passers-by checked in to see if i was ok or needed anything, just like we did when we saw people stopped or slowed earlier.

here's dan pieroni, the oldest finisher 3 years in a row.  this was his 40th ultra.  he is insane.  you can really meet some neat people out there.  how is he insane?  won a racquetball tournament on a broken ankle.  helped his brothers up a mountain in a lightning storm on a different broken ankle (making a cast of duct tape and a hiking boot).  he gets dropped of in the yukon territory for "violent" cylcing training comprising himself, a gun, a bike, whatever gear he can carry, and a button to call a helicopter in case of emergency.  three months later, someone picks him up.  3 years ago he beat prostate cancer.  he's been married 49 years and only has sex with his wife.  

it's an unwritten rule that you have to run up the hill for the last lap, so dan and i did this together.

now this is about the only time during an ultra when you feel "almost there."  to you, it may seem like when your runner is at mile 85 of 100, that they are getting close and probably think that they are are almost there, and that just isn't the case.  15 miles can be really hard.  even 5 or 3 or 1?!



the good and the bad

what went well

  • almost everything!  there's not anything that i wish i would have done to make this a better experience.  even when i felt terrible physically, in my mind i was very happy to be out there, very optimistic that i would finish, and remained hopeful that the bad feelings would pass.

what did not go well

  • dowhnills
    • i knew going in that i was not properly train to run downhills
    • onlookers would call out "don't worry you're almost to the downwhill"
  • foot issues
    • blisters
      • i thought i had this dialed in from lots of previous runs at 50, 30, and 20 miles.  24+hours in light rain and humidity changes the game.  should be easy enough to make some minor tweaks to prevent this in the future.
    • callus thing
        • there was about a 3/4 diamater inch callus thing near the front mid of both of my feet.  when the rest of your foot is moist and skin is pulling apart/etc, having this big chunk of a thing was quite a detriment.  will spend a bit more time with the ped-egg before subsequent 50+ milers
      • shoe tieing / foot sliding
        • i usually leave my shoes rather loosely tied (because i don't like the feeling when laces push against top of the foot tendons or veins).  when running steeper downhills, this leads to your foot cramming forward into the front of your shoe with every step, which lead to some mild discomfort at the time, and a toenail or two that will probably fall off within the next few weeks.  this was only an issue in the 110s, the toe box of the montrails has a bit of a different build so it's good that these shoes were there for a backup option
      • gaiters
        • somehow i didn't hit submit on my gaiter order, so i picked up whatever rei had in stock on thursday night: a pair of gaiters held on by a shoe string across the bottom of your shoe.  this doesn't work to well when your shoe is flat.  the shoe string wore out within the first lap
        • lots of tiny rocks continued to get into my shoes after this, causing hot spots and discomfort, and leading to lost time due to dumping out my shoes at each aid station and sometimes along the way
        • having good gaiters would have saved at least 30 minutes and prevented lots of unneccessary pain!
    • nutrition
      • the mile 70 wall / shutdown was terrible. i think i had just too much water and food, probably 10-20% too much.  it's hard to describe. i wasn't nauseated.  it was just... too much.  
    • accidentally applying lotion to my melted inner thighs instead of aquaphor at mile 80something.  at least this woke me up.  and set some perspective to know that the other pain could be worse.


    • lucky trippy race shirt
    • 2 x smartwool ultralight 150 NTS
    • 1 x smart wool mid weight 200 crew
    • salomon minim shell / rain jacket
    • 1 x icebreaker distance shorts, 150
    • 1 x icebreaker distance shorts, 200
    • CEP compression sleeves
    • 2 x injiji perforamce toe socks
    • 2 x smarwool toe socks
    • 1 x smart wool PhD sort of compression sock
    • ipod nano
    • duracell charger thing (for garmin and for iphone)
    • iphone
    • lifeproof iphone case (waterproof/awesome)
    • salomon hat (for cool looking rain in eyes prevention and sweat routing)
    • rei hat  (for normal looking rain in eyes prevention and sweat routing)
    • neck cooling ice pack thing (stupid)
    • neck cooling tie thing (stupid)
    • salomon xt one water pack
    • 8x 2oz rei plastic bottles (for storing pre-mixed nutrtion at AS#2 for easy mixing into water bottle)
    • size 10.5 new balance mt110
    • size 11 new balance mt110 (for foot swell/later)
    • size 11 montrail rogue fly (for later if more cushion and 10mm drop (instead of 4 on the mt's) seems necessary)
    • 2x etymotic er-4 headphones.  good thing there were two!  rain clogged up the first pair before lap 3?!
    • gopro w chest strap





    • for the stuff i brought, each lap (12.5 miles / 2.5-5 hours) i had:
      • 2x 2oz power carb (200 calories) + 1/4 serving life's basic plant protein.  the power carb is a highly refined carb that supposedly has a low insulin spike and slow(er) absorption.  they claim you can take up to 1000 calories per hour with no digestive issues.  the incremental servings of protein was from a recommendation to have some protein in "a step beyond"
      • 12x now foods organic chlorella (for vitA+C)
      • 2x satlstick 
      • 2x vega vegan DHA (from aglae)
      • 2x vega vegan vitamin E
      • a few gu roctane
      • a few gu blackberry
    • from the aid stations, it was mostly
      • 2x 1/4 size pb+j squares
      • some chips.  lays wavy (probaby bad oils?)
      • orange slice
      • banana half or quarter
      • grapes
      • melons
      • mini snickers
      • occasional gatorade
    • and special aid station treats:
      • vegetarian chili (i think mile 50?)
      • 1/2 potato, 1/2 lentil soup (i think mile 62.5?)
      • pizza (mile 88)

    garmin data

    elevation data.  the race organizers publish 8,000ft up, 8,000ft down

    weather data:


    upcoming races

    earth day 50k in CL.  this will be a fun training run/race and i want to try to go fast!

    ice age trail 50 in WI in May.

    angeles crest 100.  if i was gonna do a "shit ultrarunners say" quote then it would be that umstead was just training for ac100.  i know i can go the distance now, but ac100 is going to be a different animal.  it has more elevation change than western states, at 2x+ the up and 3x+ the down when contrasted with umstead.


    everyone who sent me a message during the run.  i feel like this borders on being "too connected" and that people might say i should be out there and experiencing the purity of the run on my own.  for me, it feels good (that's an understatement) to know that my family and friends are thinking of me.  also thanks to karen and jen for being out there to pace for others and occassionally help me out.  if karen wasn't there i think i would have headed out for every lap with only one shoe tied!

    special thanks

    ann.  i try to run at times that are convenient for the fam.  early mornings, lunch time during work, late nights.  regardless, it must be tough sometimes. "i'm going for a run, be back in ___." and who knows how long ___ might be.  running shit all over multiple rooms of the house?  usually.  talking about running?  probably too much.  

    dad.  thanks for being there and for helping me haul me and my stuff around and keep it organized.  it was such a relief to know that you that you were a phone call away and to know that you'd be there whenever i needed you and at the finish line.  

    brandi.  would i have finished this race if you weren't there?  i don't know.  would i have missed a cutoff because i had taken a nap in the rain on the side of the trail, if you weren't keeping me awake?  probably.  would it have been an absolute blast and a party to run through the night after running all day?  no way.  thanks for being there and for cheering and talking and listening and helping.

    wrapping it up

    finishing an ultramarathon of any distance feels great.  i mean, even though it might actually feel like sheer self-torture at the time, or for part of the time, feeling the happiness of knowing that you did it far outlasts the pain or suffering that can happen along the way.  and unlike the 5k, half, or big city marathon you might be eyeing as a future goal, an ultramarathon includes a very special deep sense of community.  for all but a select few, this is not a race to see who is fastest, it is a race just to see if we can do it.  together.

    maybe brandi said it best...

    "Insert your body in this picture. You will be forever changed."


    cory feign
    tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556136 2012-01-01T06:01:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z they might not get it

    "many people, even those who love you, don't understand how compelling that can be, and will try to keep you in the 'safety zone.' but fuck that. half the fun is venturing into the unknown, taking on the difficult task that yields new knowledge, doing more and testing your limits." 

    -marshall ulrich

    cory feign
    tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556137 2011-11-12T01:15:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z ultrarunning magazine race write-up

    now it's official!

    (download full size to read)

    cory feign
    tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556138 2011-09-23T15:08:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z running mix playlist

    this is a 3 hour 180bpm (tempo synched to match my running cadence) continuous mix for long run training and to help me get through my first ultramarathon.  

    it tempo shifts (speeds up or slows down without changing pitch) and (mostly) nicely blends a lot of music that i find encouraging, ridiculous, fun, happy, or just plain badass.  some of the 120 sped up to 180bpm songs sound a bit weird, and when you're in the zone it tends to just work out and you don't notice.    

    this didn't get past second draft status before the kids were doing some kind of plate/water cup stacking game near my computer one day, so there's a couple spots i would touch up a bit, and some overall mastering would probably be benficial.  nonetheless, it's fun and upbeat as is.

    download or stream here

    track listing:

    stronger riddim (yroc intro edit) (sample)

    two fingers - fools riddim

    four tet - plastic people

    sleigh bells - run the heart

    barrington levy - here i come 

    deadelus - how low can you go (live at santos exceprt) 

    emika - drop the other

    dj Sega - tic toc

    kid606 - never underestimate the power of a holler (Vipee-pee Mix)

    why? - the hollows (yroc dance party edit) 

    dillon francis & diplo feat. maluca - que que 

    major lazer - pon de floor (drop the lime remix)

    the russian futurists - hoeing weeds sowing seeds

    deadelus - make it so (xxxchange

    actress - always human

    flylo - astral plane riddim

    micheal jackson - billie jean (yroc flylo mix)

    flying lotus - do the astral plan

    daft punk - one more time

    bmore riddim 

    lady gaga - bad romance / bmore riddim

    bmore riddim / stronger riddim / zomby - mozaik / ll cool j - mama said knock you out (yroc thing)  (here's a sample of the draft of that part)

    gui boratto - no turning back

    felix da housecat - kick drum

    rustie - throw some d's (click clack)

    kenny knotts - watch all people them dancing

    soundmurderer and sk-1 - sound boy

    lcd soundsystem - all my friends

    daft punk - harder better faster stronger

    wiz khalifa - no sleep

    tittsworth - EZ

    some acid song

    bel biv devoe - poison (tittsworth remix)

    tiger and woods - time

    deadelus - taylor made (feat milosh)

    king cannibal - xx mix excerpt

    ciara - oh (feat ludakris)

    martyn - 2472

    postal service - great heights

    e.s.g. - dance

    barrington levy - dancehall rock (yroc's too slow to dance (oops) version)

    rick ross - hustlin (sinden bmore remix)

    jackie chain - Rollin (ft Jhi Ali)(Diplo Remix)

    prefuse 73 - back in time

    lady gaga - paparazzi 

    the golden filter - solid gold

    gang gang dance - mind killer

    das racist - you outta know

    !!! - steady as the sidewalk cracks

    gold panda - snow and taxis

    tokimonsta - sa mo jung

    dj sega - real love

    mylo - drop the pressure

    lykke li - dance dance dance (buraka som sistema remix)

    daft punk - harder better faster stronger (diplo's work is nover over)

    kid606 - radio killed the video star

    lupe fiasco - i don't wanna care right now

    africa hi-tek - do u wanna fight

    dj funk riddims

    dead prez & wtf - bigger than hip hop (dubstep remix)

    nightmares on was - 70s 80s

    kid606 - smack my glitch up


    cory feign
    tag:yroc.posthaven.com,2013:Post/556139 2011-09-18T20:55:00Z 2013-10-08T17:20:38Z ultramarathon #1: 50 miles of wisconsin hills and prairie. lessons learned, highlights, pictures, notes, and observations

    this is an account of one of the best days of my life.  do you have kids?  if you have kids, picture the first time you held your son or daughter in your arms.  if you don't have kids, imagine one of the best days or moments of your life (and keep it in mind and tell me about sometime).  or maybe just imagine being a kid again.  that's the level of experience we're talking about here... very deep, positive, emotional, even spiritual.

    i'm writing this up for a few reasons.  the first is that this was such a beautiful and special day that i want to remember all of the details that i can forever.  the second is so that i have some notes to refer to for future runs.  the third is to share some info and howto and tips and tricks, to cover the kinds of things that people commonly ask about, and to cover the things i forget to talk about.  and finally, it's to encourage other people to get out on the trails or the sidewalks and to start putting one foot in front of the other, because you'll be surprised to see how far you can go and how much you can accomplish.

    there will hopefully be many more ultras in my future, and it seems like the first one will always be special to me.  relentlessly progressing along the course, realizing that i can do this thing, and realizing that i just did it, greatly expanded my sense of appreciation for life. 

    even though completing your first ultra takes a lot of learning, planning, time, and mileage up front, along with a strong spirit of endurance while in progress, and as much of an accomplishment as it feels like, i think in a strage way that it is easier than it seems.  it's not like a crowded road race, you have nature around you, the people are wonderful, it's expected that you'll walk a lot, you get to stop and have snacks along the way, your fellow runners are smiling and saying encouraging things to you (and you to them), you can have a chat at any time with people pacing near you, you can ask for help, you can offer help, and you run at a reasonable pace that is much slower than road race pace and therefore much easier on your body.

    this was a great first-timer course and event: very well organized, clearly marked, well-positioned and well-stocked aid stations, helpful and encouraging volunteers, the kids race and ease of access for the family, and the celebrity factor of having dean karnazes (check out his books, i've read them all and they're good) there added a bit of zip too.

    at least one of you will do this one with me next year.  who will it be?!

    Lessons learned

    • friends and family
      • despite loving you and having your best interest in mind, you can't expect that everyone will advise you of the right moves to make at the right time, or have the right thigns to say, or will even be able to relate to you in a meaningful way.  understand and be strengthened by their caring, and do your planning on your own or with other experienced runners / ultra runners.  
    • trail runners are wonderful people!
        • i've read many books about utlra running and they all talk about a spirit of comraderie.  i found this to be 100% true.  through the middle of this race, which comprises a cross country ski trail that goes /\__/\/\_/\_/\ (making it very time consuming to accumulate mileage) as well as some nice open prairie, there were some out and back stretches where we all passed each other coming and going.  almost every person i passed was all smiles and encouraging words.  during a previous road race, i once saw a group of runners kick a passed out guy out of the way to make sure they could PR.  on the trail, everyone stops, checks in, sees if you need help, gets you back on your feet, and makes you feel good about it.  (even though that thing about the guy didn't really happen, the scenes are very different).
      • respect the hills
        • do not dance down hills prior to sufficient tech trail training
          • i haven't done a lot of hills/techy trails so for the first 20 miles i was feeling great and just jumping from rock to rock or side to side on the more techy parts, or just letting gravity take me as fast as it could on the more straighforward downhills.   i stretched or pulled or strained some ligamints or tendons, which i became aware of around mile 20, and had to work around the pain for the rest of the race.  conservatively jogging down the hills seems like a good approach until more techy training happens 
        • walk up the hills
          • i've read this and expected it so it was more of a confirmation.  it works.  i'm sure the front of the pack run the whole time, and for everyone else, it's fun to run along with a small group, we all hit the base of the hill at the same time, and it's just an unspoken thing that now we all walk.  later on, it was funny when we'd get to the top and then everyone would just be waiting for one person to get movin again, and one time we all kinda stalled and finally one of us got going.  we were all thinking the same thing (someone better get us movin!)
      • not THAT much salt
        • Doesn't seem to hurt anything, or maybe it's why i felt like I wasn't drinking enough, but you could tell from my clothes and hat after that i was sweating out way too much salt.  next time, 1x saltstick per hour.
      • have some mantras queued up 
        • one foot in front of the other
        • whatever works for you, just have something ready because there will be times when you just need to or when you want to zone out and just let the time pass into nothingness (except mileage accumulation).  
      • plan out every detail
          • i got a text from ann that i saw at 2:30 that the car gps said she had 47 miles til she would arrive.  txts are slow and unreliable in the woods.  the kids race starts at 3:00.  they might miss it.  they might miss me finishing.  i am dripping sweat on my phone and have to put it away.  i can't think about it.  i have to know if they are going to get here.  etc.  even though they arrived on time, and everything worked out, it is best to reserve all mental energy for mantra repetition and positive interactions
        • there is no half way point
          • mile 25?  nah.  mile 30?  nah?  the course varies to much.  the only time i felt like some significant milestone was reached was like 49.5  i was tracking each 20% (10,20,30,40) as somethign, but it was just kind of like a fact and not something i could really play with for positive energy.
        • no sleep didn't matter
          • went to sleep at midnight and woke up at 2:30am.  as long as you sleep in the days before, everything will be fine

          highlights: (this is a lot of unique and happy memories for one compressed time period!)

          • i got bib #50!  this just seemed like a good omen.  you just can't DNF when you are bib #50 in your first 50 miler.  (it helps to line up all the psychological tricks you can for when the other side of you starts to negotiate with you)  
          • my parents were at the start.  i was gonna get a ride to a hotel or take a train to a bus and hitch or who knows what.  they offerred to drive me up (after talking me down after some travel related complications (and me being a temporarily crazed asshole)), and the plan was that they'd just be dropping me off.  once we got there they decided to stick around even though it was going to make a really tiring day for them (we left their house at 2:45am).  i was really glad we were together at the start and it was more positive energy to have stored up for when i'd need it
          • the head lamps and flaslights in the line of the 200 of us in the otherwise pitch black morning woods were so neat.  you could look up and down the trail and see it zigzagging through the woods and it just really made me feel like i was a part of something special
          • on the drive up there, i was talking to my parents about how i didn't understand why people used handheld water bottles.  some time after the second aid station, mile 11 or so, i reached back to find i had dropped one of my water bottles without knowing it.  with no idea how far back i'd have to go (up to 2 or 3 miles (the volunteers had filled it for me and handed it to me at the last station and i had it when i left)) i decided i'd drink much more at the subsequent aid stations and survive on 10.5 oz between stops.  
            • shortly after that, 3 or 4 of us were all pacing each other, so i commented to the guy just in front of me on the now obvious advantage of his handheld water bottles: "if you drop one, you know right away."  we joked a bit, he had seen the water bottle and wasn't sure that it would even be helpful to pick up, and of course right away he offerred me his water.  
            • then #51 caught up, and she joined in the convo.  she had seen my water bottle too, again just not sure "do i pick this up in case i see the person somehow, or am i then stuck carrying some thing for 38 more miles?"
          • the three of us ran together and talked for quite some time.  life stories, interests, books, hobies, etc.
            • alex is in the resreves and is an f-16 mechanic.  he's done some cool endurancy / adventure type races.  he said not long ago he a lot more than he does now, and just ran his first half last year.  he's working on a degree to become a programmer.  he usually has some burping issues around mile 25, and did on this day.  
            • #51 is a kindergarten teacher of special needs kids, and seems to waver between staying up til 2am playing darts and waking up at 3am to run 30+ miles.  she was sponsored by nike to run the hood to coast relay a few years back.  she offerred some yummy sounding treat that we were gonna share at mile 28 but when i got there i  was a bit behind them and wasn't really processing.
            • alex and i were takling about longer races like 100M and #51 says "what are you crazy? why would you ever run 100 miles?"  me: "you realize you are out here running 50 miles right?"
            • it was nice to be able to talk through some concerns.  i was worried about my calf because a week prior it tightened up and got pulled at mile 5 of a 10 mile run.  it hurt for several days and that was the last time i'd run before this started.  
            • it was also nice to know that other people find it hard too.  we talked briefly about what was ailing us, or what issues we'd been having while training.  this seemed like a risky topic because it could be too easy to begin giving undue focus to something that is not a serious issue, so i didn't want to talk about it too much.  #51 mentioned that year in and year out, something comes up and there will usually be some minor pains that come along with training.  it felt good to hear this from an experienced athlete.
            • as the sun was coming up and we were running along some beatiful praire and rolling hills, just chatting and feeling great, the three of us all doing our first 50-milers, i did my best to paraphrase kurt vonnegut's saying "if this isn't nice, i don't know what is" and the group agreed. 
            • i feel like this really set the stage and was more good vibes to store up for later.  maybe i'd still be with them later?  maybe i'd find another group?  maybe i'd zone to music.
          • at the next aid station (mile 16), #51 joked to the volunteers that she had intentionally left my water bottle behind so that i'd get dehydrated at the end and she could win.  somehow some volunteers had found my water bottle and had it ready for me.  "holy shit, that is awesome! thanks for saving the day!"  
          • at mile 21, i had some mountain dew.  it was delicious!  also at mile 21 the air temp was just right such that an unusual amount of steam was visibly eminating from me, and some of the volunteers had a laugh about it.
          • at mile 28, in the bathroom, i got to know thomas who runs thegiveshirt.com charity. first i pushed his stall door open, and quickly apologized.  "no worries" he said, "how's the run going?"  i chose the open stall next to his and we spent a few minutes getting to know each other. he's a psychologist, runs a charity, and this 50 miler was a warm up for his 65 mile run the following day. he hosts a 24 hour run in the milwaukee area. again, instant best friends, even after busting into his stall. awesome peeps.
            • later i would meet thomas again.  and guess how this time?  i was blowing snot to my left and behind me when he was just about to run by and give me a thumbs up.  sorry again!  i caught up with him after the race, and of course...  "no worries"
          • while i was sitting down at the mile 35 aid station changing my socks and eating cookies, the volunteers were remarking: "do they even know what is going on?" (meaning are the runnners still cognitively functioning).  i thought that was funny.  i tried to tell them a story about one time when it was really hot and i was really in zombie mode, and the story just didn't quite come out right, probably confirming their suspicions that we didn't know what was going on.
          • after i got up from sitting down (avoid sitting down, it feels a little too good) at the bag area and headed to the food table, a guy came up and said "i guess i will take you up on that salt offer."  the funny thing was, i had never offerred him any salt, or at least i don't remember doing so (it's entirely possible that i did).  i had a bunch of extra salt so i shared 3 with him and then 3 with another guy (salt tabs to runners = crack rock to hookers).  
          • right after that, as i was ready to get moving again, another guy came in and claimed that his bag was missing from the drop.  he was stressing bigdtime.  the volunteers calmly asked what he needed and what they could get for him, and he when he asked if they had salt tabs and they said no he exclaimed "WELL THEN I'M FUCKED."  at the time i was not in a place where i could absorb any negative energy, so i put on my headphones and got moving.  in retrospect, it should have been easy enough to let him know that i had just given a bunch of salt away, and that surely one of the other runners who would be coming through soon would have excess salt.  next time i'll be able to help out in that situation.  
          • I was all alone for a couple of miles after leaving 35, and i started to worry that i was going the wrong way.   there were spots where i saw orange, and i couldn't tell if this was a repeat section.  do i wait to see someone else?  try to catch up to someone else?  turn around and confirm?  i was pretty sure i hadn't missed anythign so i just kept going.  finally saw some peeps catching up that i recognized; phew!
          • ran into a guy named brian from indiana.  his girlfried is from mt proz.  we were at mile 37 and he was doing his second 50 miler, the first one he was in got called due to weather when he was at mile 36 or so, so he had just gone farther than he ever had before, so it was another neat and positive moment
          • The volunteers were so great.  They would take your bottles from you, ask what you need, fill em up, and bring em back. "let me do that for you, you just go get some food." it seems like a small detail and it was so helpful physically and emotionally (these people care about me and are here to help me and that is nice)
          • Around mile 42, the ligament thing was getting the best of me.  a couple people came up on my left, and the convo went like this (brandi=b, cory=me):
            • b: HI!  GUESS WHAT?
              me: what?
              b:i'm going to finish my first 50 miler today!!!
              me: me too, CONGRATS!
              b: doesn't it feel great?
              me: well it would if my foot wasn't broken, and even with that, yes
              b: like medically broken?
              me: no no. just hurts! 
              b: want some aleve?
              me: yes, that would really help!
              b: here, take this aleve. it is going to make you feel great and you are going to finish strong!

              can not even describe how helpful that was!  posted a thing on the event's page and she responded...
          • at the mile 45 aid station, i was getting a bit loopy.  
            • first of all, my earbud cover thing got stuck too far in my ear.  a marine who was volunteering as part of the medical staff pulled it out with a pair of pliers.  
            • i was mumbling about how the mountain dew was the best mountain dew i'd ever had, the orange was the best orange ever, and of course when they explained that i was at mile 45 and had only 5 miles left to go, i told them that was the best news i had ever heard in my life.  
          • rolling out of that aid station and crossing a main road, a traffic volunteer guy said: "you can do it, one foot in front of the other."  i don't know why it works, but that stuff works.  it's a common mantra and is one i use a lot, and hearing him say it was another positive feeling to use to keep it together.  it's something about the connectedness and understanding and being aware of the common goal.  maybe he's a runner, maybe someone he loves is in the race.  it's good.
          • there was a guy puking at mile 40+.  yikes.  glad my digestion went well.
          • 43-47 or so was pine forest with sand (i don't know if naturally or as some sort of erosion prevention kinda thing).  it is not fun to run in sand when you have been running for 10 hours.  
          • around 47 some lady runs past while i'm walking and yells "it sure is nice to be past all of that sand back there!"  even something like that feels good at a time like that.   to know there are other people out there thinking what you're thinking and going through what you're going through.
          • i had trouble with one of the turns near mile 48.5.  i was freaking out because i was alone again it was a repeat section of the track and i couldn't tell if that was why i saw orange to the left.  it is at times like this that you realize that it must be devastating to head in the wrong direction.  when you're at mile 48, you want to be done in 2 miles, not in 4 or 5 or 6 miles if you get lost and have to turn around.  i could only see purple to the right, so i just said fuck it.  
          • finishing was beautiful.  unlike a crowded road race in chicago, where as a spectator you can barely crowd in to get a view, and the runners are separate from the crowd, it's a lot more open and relaxed.  that means that julian, jordan, and ann got to stand in the finish chute.  i could see them up there wearing their finisher medals on my final approach and i got to high five the kids just after crossing the line, a moment i had been looking forward to since i signed up for this thing.
          • a lot of friends and family sent txts or emails or posted on facebook or called during the run (glover: "how was it?" me: "dude i have 5 miles left!").  with every message i felt a wave of positivity wash over me and this did more to help me keep it together than i can describe.


          • on DNF (did not finish)
            • my impromptu trail buddies and i chatted about this around mile or 20 or so.  it seemed to me kinda like bad luck to talk about, and we did it anyway.  i felt like at that point we were 20 miles in and considering how good we were feeling there was no way it would be a possibility for the 3 of us to not make it.  we acknowledged our fear together and moved on to other topics.  i didn't think about it too much after that, and never let it become part of the negotiation (for example, if i don't feel better by mile 40, maybe it would be ok to not finish).  we saw a guy who had turned around and you really feel for the person. also heard some volunteers talking about a girl whose knee was hurting really badly and on top of that she had gone a few miles in the wrong direction.  i hope she made it!
          • gear/equipment
            • icebreaker 5" merino wool (200 wgt) shorts
            • smartwool merino wool (150 wgt) long sleeve shirt
            • vibram five fingers kso trek shoes
            • 2 x injiji mini crew socks (changed at mile 35)
            • layer of aquaphor (generic) to coat the feet before putting on socks 
            • rei wicking hat thing
            • ptzel e+lite head lamp.  easy small light that was fine for only an hour of morning run.  need real light for 100 miler
            • amphipod 2 x 10.5oz clip in water bottles.  pouch used for gels and supps 
            • amphipod strectchy belt.  pouch used for iphone, ipod, and backup cheapy mp3 player
            • body glide on inner thighs etc
            • band aids on nips.  the merino was fine on previous long runs, used bandaids just to be sure
            • safety pin, bandaids  (just in case for blisters)
            • drop bag (delivered to 21/35)
              • newton shoes, dry socks, backup shorts, backup shirt, special cookies, moleskin, aquaphor (generic), bug spray, second skin spray, backup headphones
              • only used the dry socks and cookies
            • base camp bag
              • warm clothes for after just in case, random stuff
          • music:
            • dj yroc (aka me) made a 3 hour 180bpm (tempo synched to match my running cadence) continuous mix that i listened to about 2.5 times.  it tempo shifts (speeds up or slows down without changing pitch) and (mostly) nicely blends a lot of music that i find encouraging, ridiculous, fun, happy, or just plain badass.  some of the 120 sped up to 180bpm songs sound a bit weird, and when you're in the zone it tends to just work out and you don't notice.  there's some really good transitions, yroc refixes, edits, etc.  have a listen if you want to add some stimulation to your next run.  dj mix download link + link to track listing.
            • m83's new album saved the day in the 40+ mile zone.  raconte moi une histoire is one of my favs, and i think i listed to that 20 times or so on repeat over the last miles 

          • nutrition
            • 1x g.t. dave's grape chia kombucha and 1x ginger kombucha before
            • 1x grape chia kombucha mixed into water bottles at the beginning
            • saltstick every hour
            • skipped the first aid station altogether, filled up at mile 11.
            • 2 x extreme dark chocolate squares 60-90 minutes in to get the digestive juices started
            • 6-12oz of water at each station, refilled 2x 10.5 oz water bottles.  this was not enough to have on me (good thing they found my bottle)
            • glutamine/carnatine a couple of times
            • 1 naproxen from mile 28 aid station, one from a runner at mile 42 or so
            • 4 x pbj sandiwches total, by way of 1/4s or halves
            • lots of potato chips
            • skittles
            • an orange slice or two at every stop
            • mountain dew and pepsi a couple of times (21/28/35/40)
            • 3x gu roctanes.  6x gu roctanes?  who knows?
            • some other gus, berry and vanilla
            • hilary's vegan nut chip cookies (special treat in my drop bag waiting at mile 35)
            • 10 chips ahoy
            • lots of potatoes, some with salt lick. boiled potatoes and plates of salt=yum
          • digestion
            • had to shit early in, couldn't stop on the trail to pee off to the side without having to shit every time (ugh!) and there wasn't a good bathroom setup at 11, and at 16 + 21 (?) i wanted to stick with my new buddies.  finally at mile 28 there was a good bathroom setup and my body was timed right.  i'd fallen a bit behind the friends and was taking my time.  that's the only time i peed the whole time so i think water intake was good to a bit low
          • pain and recovery
            • on a 1 to 10, i'd give the general pain level around a 5.  my left ankle, from 20-30 miles was a 5, got up to an 8, and was around 7 on average for 30-50.  it took some management and psychological discipline to not focus on it, to focus on form, and to not overcompensate
            • no blisters
            • typical muscle soreness followed on day 2, as expected.  nothing crazy though
            • had to ice the ankle issue a lot, was getting better by day 5
            • my pects were sore (presumably from holding up my arms for 11 hours)?!


            did i leave anything out?


            if you've ever thought "maybe i could do that some day" you should start now because you can.  people can do some crazy shit!   the runners in that race ranged in age from 20 to 60. 

            so take the dog for an extra walk around the block or do a 5k or a half or marathon or ultra, hop on a bike, do anything.  take the first step, get moving!  


            next, pictures

            arriving / base camp / 4:40 in the morning.


            the early morning scene

            the starting line and finish line feels much different in this kind of event than the ones at the handful of halfs or other races i've done.  unlike a half or marathon where i'm trying to PR, on this run my goals were to enjoy every minute of time on the trails and to finish.  the special moments happen out on the trail, in talking with people, in putting together and following the plan, in convincing yourself to stick with it.  so the finish line is sort of bittersweet, as it is in many ways sad to have everything come to an end


            head lamps looked neat, wish these would have turned out

            (event staff photo)


            getting lighter...


            stoppin for a pic

            a nice view

            my new buddies:

            aid station at mile 28

            the scene at mile 28

            this is (i think) brian.  his girlfriend grew up in mt proz

            thanks for the notice!

            aid station fare at mile 35 (was also mile 21)

            mile 40 aid station (event staff photo)


            things got harder after leaving the mile 35 aid station and i was OK up to the mile 40 aid station.  overall i felt surprisingly well, just some general fatigue and muscle soreness, and the problem i was having was with the left ankle ligaments that i had strained early on.  i had to really focus on my form and take every step carefully so as to not make it any worse.  i knew that if i did that, even though every step hurt, everything would work out.


            it was time for M83 to the rescue!  i don't know what the words are other than the parts where they say "carry on," and i was thinking of how julian and jordan said in the car a few days earlier that this new one is remix of the song from the skate video (lower your eyelids to die with the sun).


            couldn't deal with pictures anymore, though we ran through some lovely open fields and some soft and quiet pine forests.  

            remembered to follow the orange


            The scene back at the camp while i was around mile 45 (event staff photo).  see that ridge in the background? from way farther to the left to farther to the right, we covered on foot.


            the kids ran a 1k while i was out there, racing buzz lightyear, spongebob, elmo, and others.  they did great!  i had wanted to finish in time to see this, and even though i did not it still felt good to know that they were running while i was

            around the time they finished, and for the rest of the run, i was listening to this other M83 song on repeat, crying (happy crying, even though i was in pain) my way through the final miles

            almost there...

            10 hours and 57 minutes later

            high-fivin the kids at the finish.  hard to describe how good that felt!

            trying to hug the boys.  jordy said i was too stinky and kept running away!


            dean signing my bib!

            dean!  dean said he is working on making his legs look mine

            link to garmin data, elevation, and a google earth overview of the course

            and next up... umstead 100 in the spring

            and then hopefully western states 100 in june

            and then off to cali for angeles crest 100 in july

            and then off to the mountains again... for leadville 100 in august

            cory feign