A Virtual Marathon

With the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the country, it was no surprise that the races I’d signed up for were all canceled.  However, one of the organizers offered up a “virtual” option, allowing you to run the distance you’d signed up for, in whatever location you happened to be, within a few weeks of the event date.  At first I dismissed this as a pointless exercise.  But after a week of sheltering at home, I was eager to get outside and cover some miles.  So I picked Saturday morning to execute the virtual option, deciding to run my marathon at a local university track.

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A Virtual Marathon

Knob Hills Trail Race

By way of background, I’d registered for this race a year ago, curious about the trail, only to find out a few weeks later that it was canceled.  Evidently the Knob Hills Trail is maintained by mountain-bikers, and when conditions turn muddy, they close the trails to prevent erosion.  The race was rescheduled to January 18, 2020, and my prior registration rolled over automatically.

For barefoot runners, the nature of the trail matters for the obvious reason that smooth dirt or sharp-edged rocks have different implications for speed and thus goals and  strategy.  Since this race would take place on the northwestern shore of Grapevine Lake, I imagined a mix of sand and dirt with some crumbled limestone strata, which is what I’d experienced on the lake’s southeastern shore, where I’d participated in the Rockledge Rumble…. Continue reading “Knob Hills Trail Race”

Knob Hills Trail Race

Managing Chaos at the Rockledge Rumble 50k

In the last few weeks a little bit of chaos has been spreading through my life, or so it seems (maybe it was always there).  I attribute the chaos to excessive business travel, but some amount of disorder is inescapable, whether in daily life or in ultramarathons for that matter.  Here’s my account of the Rockledge Rumble 50k ultramarathon, a recent race along the Northshore Trail in Grapevine, Texas, together with the travel, logistics, planning and other headaches that led up to and spilled into race day, and how I tried to manage them….

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Managing Chaos at the Rockledge Rumble 50k

Jessica Velez: Reflections on my 70-miler

This is a guest post by Jessica Velez who participated in the 70-mile division of the 2019 SRT Run.  I was at checkpoint #5 when she arrived with only a few minutes to spare, and based on her pace at that point I didn’t think she would make it to checkpoint #6, but she did, this time only seconds before the cut-off, strained, blistered, and sopping wet.  Given the risks associated with rain, darkness, and cooling temperatures I offered her the option to drop here and get a ride to the finish, but she barely acknowledged me, instead got to work replacing the batteries in her headlamp, and then headed off into the dark, wet forests for the final 6-mile stretch, arriving at the finish in 29 hours and 49 seconds, and along the way demonstrating the values of determination, self-reliance, and endurance that we seek to celebrate with this event. — Ken.
Why did I do it? It wasn’t for fun, I wish I had the level of fitness where 70 miles would be fun. When I run marathons- they are fun, I socialize, take in the views, people watch- I actually have a lot of fun with marathons. I signed up for a 70, because as I finished my 50 miler at Rock the Ridge in 2017- I felt like I could have done more. I wanted to challenge myself and see if my body was capable of the “more”. Why did I choose the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT) race specifically? Simply because it was local and scenic and priced extremely reasonable.

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Jessica Velez: Reflections on my 70-miler