Wednesday, October 31, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - 1978

I was remiss in reviewing additional documents and discovered I missed the entire medical journal my parents kept. It turned out to be a gold-mine of information. Aside from the usual information about ear infections and chest colds, it also shows my trip from Oxnard, California to Hollywood, Maryland. On March 12, 1978, I was seen by my regular doctor, Dr. Cho, in Oxnard. Then on March 15, 1978, I was seen by a doctor in Bountiful, Utah. On March 21, 1978, I saw a doctor in Chicago Heights, Illinois. By March 31, 1978, I was finally in Leonardtown, Maryland, seeing Dr. Bennett.

It was also my first serious injury. The family story goes that I was running in the house and hit the edge of a bookshelf. They had to put stitches in my left ear lobe. X-rays showed no major head injury and a few days later, they pulled the stitches out.

Monday, October 22, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - October 22, 1978

My dad ran a water test on the Flintlock Court house on October 22, 1978. There are a few interesting facts within the report. The first thing I noticed was that it shows three people living in the house. Next, I saw that there was a flow rate of 703 gallons per hour. Finally, the smell and taste of the water. Described on the back, it was "water smells like iron" and tastes "metallic."

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

2018 Oil Creek 50k Race Report


As humans, as animals, we have adapted over millennia to become the species we are now. We've done this because as our natural habitat has changed, we have been forced to change or die. This simple rule, this simple fact, is an underlying tenant of ultramarathons. As weather changes, as our body changes, as the course changes, we have to adapt to the changes or fall behind.

It was my ability to adapt that truly saved my race this year. My ability to recognize issues as they arose, address them as best as I could, and then carry on. But change isn't always comfortable and for this year's race, I walked away with some expected battle scars and some unexpected ones. But I finished. And I survived.

This year's race began, as it usually does, with a lack of training. But this summer, I took things to a whole new low. Despite having a good training plan in place and an awesome coach, I logged less than 15 miles since the end of May. Granted, I did bike and swim more than previous summers, but for some reason, I just wasn't feeling it on the run. So I didn't. And as it usually does, it meant I planned on walking much of the 50k course. As in years past, I stuck to that plan, only running a few short minutes in each section of the course just to feel better about myself.

This year was also marked by a mildly concerning level of forgetfulness. In past years, I've been known to over-pack when it comes to gear. Too many clothing choices, shoes, gear, etc. This year, I forgot a rain jacket and pants, two items that I normally have with me. I have no idea why I forgot them. Thankfully, I didn't need the pants. But man, that rain jacket would have been awfully nice to have.

Again, as usual, I arrived at my mom's house, thankful to have some good, old fashioned home cooking and some quality time with my mom. We did some shopping the next day and then I went to packet pick-up. This is when things drastically changed.

I've been doing this race for a few years now. Enough so that I've lost track of the exact count and have to look at my previous list.
So as you can see, a good number of years over the race's ten year history. And I've loved every one of them. Over time, I've come to learn the course fairly well, how to get to Titusville, where to park, when to leave, etc. I've even started to recognize a few familiar faces, especially the Race Director Tom Jennings. But never in all of my years, including this year, never would I have ever expected him to recognize me. So when he came up to shake my hand and say hello during packet pick-up, I was floored. It's always an odd experience when somebody recognizes you and you don't recognize them, but more so when a rock star like Tom recognizes you and makes it a point to say hello. I felt thrilled, honored, humbled, and motivated all at the same time.

After eating my normal pre-race dinner, I headed back to my mom's to get some sleep.

The next morning, I was once again spotted by Tom and he once again said hello. I did my usual pre-race morning stuff in the bathroom, had some coffee, and chilled out. The race started and just like last year, I made sure I was the last one off the start line. Last year I finished a few minutes ahead of last place, aka The Wildcatter, in the 100k and what do you know, I managed to meet her as we walked down the bike path. Melinda was a joy to talk to and totally took my mind off that first climb into the trees. Made me feel good. We caught up to Julie from California who was moving slowly but still moving. I decided to move ahead and eventually caught up to Eileen. We chatted a bit but she gifted me with a surreal experience. Just like Tom, she said she recognized me from my YouTube videos of previous races. I was shocked. It totally made my day, made my race, and was probably worth more to me than the belt buckle at the finish.

As the race progressed, I slowly caught a few people and passed them. Not many, but enough to feel like I was making decent progress.

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for my survival instincts to kick in. Within the first few miles, I developed a hot spot on my right heel. My socks, shoes, and lubrication hadn't changed and had been proven to work wonderfully in the past. I had no idea what was going on but I applied extra lube as needed. It didn't help. I continued to develop more pain and by the time I reached the halfway point and get to my drop bag, both heels and several toes were rubbing more than they should have. I had plenty of A&D Ointment on before the race but applied more. My socks were still fairly new but for some reason didn't give as much cushion as they should have. So I changed them. My shoes were rubbing quite harshly and I had never had that happen before. Loosening or tightening the laces didn't help.

All of these issues were small but over time they grew. I was able to adapt and change things as best as I could but without an extra pair of shoes to change into, I was stuck wearing the painful ones. So when I rolled out of the last water table in Section 4, just a few miles from the finish, my left blister popped. It's one of the worst feelings ever. But I toughed it out, slowed down, and dealt with the pain.

It was at this same time that a thunderstorm rolled in. It was serious enough to have lightening and thunder and pouring rain but not serious enough that I felt like I was in danger. In fact, I was more worried about the lightening out in the open than I was on the trail. But it stopped raining as I got to the power lines right before the end of the trail so I was able to dry off a bit before the finish.

Once again, Tom was a great race director, taking the time to talk to me, shake my hand, and hand me my buckle and sticker. Once again, I had a long but wonderful race. Once again, I was amazed that people could be so nice, so helpful, and so pleasant to be around.

And it really is the people that made this year's race so great. From Tom and Eileen recognizing me to the woman at chip pick-up and the finish who I knew from previous years but couldn't remember her name (I still can't. Sorry!). The volunteers at all the aid stations helping the runners. The volunteers at Aid Station 3 serving me food and fluids as I sat and chilled out. The fans and families cheering everyone on as they finished. The 100k and 100 mile runners headed back out for more but still willing to cheer me on. The other 50k runners in good spirits despite having their own issues (To the young lady at Aid Station 2, I hope Elvis eventually left the building, but only at a convenient time.).

So there you have it. Another year in the books.

Temps were 70F to 80F. May have dropped a bit when the storm rolled through. Humidity was moderate to high. Overcast most of the day. Foggy in the morning. Rain in the afternoon and evening. Not much breeze.

Fluids and Fuel:
I stuck mainly with GenUCAN Hydrate and food but also snacked on the aid station food when I could. I also had some NUUN here and there.

Aches and Pains:
The usual chafing/peeling. Heel blisters were unexpected. Might lose my right big toenail thanks to a couple of hard stubbing incidents.

Wore my KR Endurance shorts, shirt, and Nathan hydration vest.

Start to Aid Station 1 - 2:36:43
Aid Station 1 -  1:08
Aid Station 1 to Aid Station 2 - 2:33:55
Aid Station 2 -   12:11
Aid Station 2 to Aid Station 3 - 3:29:39
Aid Station 3 -   9:33
Aid Station 3 to Finish - 3:31:43
Overall - 12:34:54

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

40 Years Ago Today - October 3, 1978

Forty years ago today, I turned two. Based on the photos below, I got some pretty nice presents. Some Buddy L trucks, Coke trucks, and some wooden Playskool blocks. All of which I remember playing with as a kid when I was older. I also remember the copper or brass pitcher that's sitting on the chest in the background. The photos were taken in our new home in Maryland and my Uncle Harold came to visit. I know at one point he lived in Maryland but I'm not sure if he lived there in 1978 or sometime later or both. It's also no surprise that my mother was there but I do know that the divorce is a looming issue.