A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Thursday, May 18 | Hole 13 & Kitchen Fun(damentals)

I’m enjoying working out at home!

15-min AMRAP
1 cluster 100#
2 burpee + lateral bar hop
10 unbroken lateral bar hops 

Note that the hop over the bar after 2nd burpee each round did not count as first of 10 unbroken lateral bar hops. I often paused briefly before beginning lateral bar hops to ensure that I’d be able to complete unbroken. I was able to do so each round.

As much as I hate thrusters, I kinda sorta enjoyed them today, perhaps because it was just one thruster at a time. No power cleans plus front squat plus push press allowed today, as each rep had to begin with full squat clean.

I completed 27 rounds and 1 burpee + lateral bar hop, averaging just over 30 seconds a round.

The final session of my cooking class was held, and we made Greek salad (too easy) and a frittata. Whilst I didn’t learn much that I didn’t already know, I did nonetheless enjoy the class and meeting new people. I’m going to begin cooking from recipes more and using pre-packaged meals less.

Friday, May 19 | Into the Woods

Uhm, it’s difficult to keep a grasp of the bar when the bar is a yoke. I’m going to have to invest in a pull-up rig.

Establish 3RM

I really wanted to get 115# but had to settle for 110#. Nonetheless, I’m making progress! I was able to complete 2 reps at 115# two times. Dammit.

Bench press
Establish 3RM

Ah, the bench press, how you mock me and my lack of pectorals. I was able to bench press 150# two times, and that’s just a little more than bodyweight.

10 parallette pass throughs
5 strict knees to elbows
25 air squats

This was much more challenging than I thought it’d be, and it took me 11:01 to complete. Gah!

Luke, of course, observed the entire workout! He’s such a wonderful mascot. And coach.

Tuesday, May 23 | Clean, You Jerk!

I rested Saturday and Sunday. Uhm, and Monday. Yes, I did walk at least 5 miles each day, but I didn’t complete any specific strength or conditioning.

100 Power Clean & Jerks, 95#

I completed in 20 sets of 5 reps, only dropping the bar from the top on the 5th rep. Midway through the workout Luke let me know that he was too hot, so I quickly ran up the garage stairs and let him in the house. Good boy! I completed all 100 reps in exactly 18 minutes. That was both strength and conditioning, folks.

Wednesday, May 24 | 150

Box jumps, 24″
Deadlifts, 95#

Holy posterior chain, Batman! I had considered 135# deadlifts but am very happy that I settled on 95# instead. Completing 150 reps of anything is a challenge. As I’ve been experiencing some occasional heel pain, I didn’t rebound off of box. This is a good thing. I completed an average of 10 reps a minute, finishing in 14:59.

Thursday, May 25 | Twenty-Four

I’m just now realizing that I named the workout Twenty-Four and I completed on the 24th.

20-min AMRAP
3 strict pull-ups
5 med ball tricep pushups
7 weighted jumping air squats, 25#
9 weighted Abmat sit-ups
24 double unders

Yup, an entire body workout with a focus on the core. I completed about 9 of the rounds in unbroken dus, and the remaining activities in unbroken reps. Again, grasping the yoke makes pull-ups that much more challenging.

Thom and Evelyn arrived Friday, and Jeff and I entertained them Friday evening, most of the day Saturday (including a game of Cards Against Humanity), and Sunday morning. ‘Twas fun!

We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Admiral (the best thing, next to BJ’s) Friday night. Uhm, two of the four people seated beside us WERE EXTREMELY FUCKING LOUD. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. If you’re talking so loudly that I can’t hear my dinner companions, than quiet the fuck down. Yes, I gave glaring looks and was offered a somewhat offhand apology. But the behavior continued. Assholes.

Sunday, May 28 | Seventy

Jeff joined me for strength! Yay!

Push press
Establish 2RM

My goal was to complete 2 reps at about bodyweight but I exceeded the goal, completing 2 reps at 150#. Yay! BTW, I weighed myself in the presence of Jeff, and he doubts that I only weigh 143#. Uhm, I weight 143#, even though I’m drinking more beer. More delicious beer. No IPAs for me!

10 6-count med ball burpee + thruster, 20#
10 KB SDHP, 70#
20-second parallette L-sit

My goal was to complete in unbroken reps each round. The KB SDHPs were surprisingly the most difficult of the activities. I did ensure that KB handle gently touched chin each rep.

For burpees thrusters…
Count 1: Place hands on med ball in diamond shape and kick legs back to plank.
Count 2: Lower chest to med ball.
Count 3: Push up arms to full extension.
Count 4: Jump feet to med ball and move hands to side of med ball.
Count 5: Complete med ball clean.
Count 5: Press med ball overhead.

I also didn’t allow myself to drop med ball from top for any reps.

It took me 17:10 to complete, and I was a sweaty mess when all was said and done.

Monday, May 29 | “Riley”

I briefly considered attending a session of “Murph” at a local box (other than CFA), but honestly had little desire to do so. Been there, done that. And probably far too many times. It also vexes me when folks hall-ass “Murph,” e.g., consider Rx even if not wearing a vest, break the pull-ups, pushups, and air squats into sets instead of doing in order (and still consider Rx), half-ass the activities, etc. I shall forever be a stickler for proper form and execution. I instead completed a hero WOD that I hadn’t yet tried. So that the course would be somewhat flat, I drove the half mile to Carrier Park.

There were quite a few people enjoying the beautiful morning. I was the recipient of many smiles and as many stares. I suppose folks aren’t used to seeing someone run whilst wearing a weight vest.

Run 1.5 miles
150 burpees
Run 1.5 miles

Wear 20# weight vest

In many ways this was as challenging as “Murph,” and certainly as exhausting. I set a goal to complete in 45 minutes. I wore my TomTom Spark 3. I ran an out and back course, for (as I suspected would happen) distance continued to accrue whilst doing burpees. I ran the first mile in 8:03, and whilst that’s not a blazingly fast pace I knew I’d need to keep a little in the tank for the upcoming burpees and second run.

My strategy was complete 10 burpees at a a time. I did so through the first 6 rounds, but then completed 15 reps so that I would hit the 75 rep count. I then completed another 15 and 15, taking me to the 105 rep count. I got in a good rhythm and completed 35 reps, taking me to the 140 rep count. I finished the last 10 reps at a good, steady pace, ensuring that I’d be able to begin the run without having to rest.

I jumped to full extension and clapped my hands above my head each and every rep. No shitty reps for me, thank you.

My legs felt like lead, as did my arms, and I was sweating profusely.

And getting more and more stares. In retrospect, folks may have been staring at me because of my labored breathing yet still somewhat fast pace.

I set a goal to have a strong finish. There were at least a half dozen (maybe more than a dozen) times when I had to talk myself into continuing to run. I really, really, really wanted to walk. I mean, like, really.



P.S. I ♥ PS.

Sunday, May 14, 2017 | 400m

Jeff: I don’t like working out by myself. I’m going to have to join a gym.
Me: I like working out by myself!
Jeff: You enjoy doing most everything by yourself.
Me: <Silence>

I warmed up the movements and then completed the following:

5th Ave.
Deadlifts 185#
1-armed alternating 35# KB hang clean & push presses
1-legged 20″ box jumps
Run 400m

As 84 reps is high volume I settled on 185# for deadlifts, having warmed up to 275#. For KB HC+PP I began with right arm for rounds of 21 & 9 as well as even-numbered rounds and left arm for rounds of 15 & 3. For box jumps I ensured that I landed in a squat, albeit not a pistol as non-standing leg was behind me. In addition, I kicked heel to butt (of non-standing leg, of course) when I stood to full extension. It’s more difficult than it probably sounds.

I was pleased to discover that it’s 200m from garage door to last telephone pole just before 5th Ave. meets Michigan Ave. Yay! It’s quite a hilly course. Boo? No, yay!

Luke is the best dog ever. Truly. I was concerned that he might try to run with me. I only needed to tell me to stay the first round. As it was a hot afternoon, he did often rest inside the garage. I didn’t mind navigating around him!

I completed all rounds in unbroken reps, including deadlifts, even though I hadn’t set out to do so. This was a fun and challenging workout!

Time = 30:19

I enjoy programming for myself. I continue to look at WODs at CFA thinking I might actually attend a session if the workout is interesting. That hasn’t been the case. Lots of couplets, though!

My mother, brother Steve, and niece Mary visited so I didn’t work out Saturday or Sunday, although I did take Luke for long walks. Uhm, even though we usually walk at least 7 miles a day it still doesn’t feel like exercise. Mother is still visiting but doesn’t mind if I get in a workout.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 | Power Snatches

I’ve been itching to do power snatches now that it’s been just about 6 months since surgery. Today was the day!

KB Burpees
21 (X3) – 15 – 9
Double unders
Power snatches 65#
KB 53# 6-count burpees

Kettle bell burpees what? Whilst standing in front of KB, bend over over and place both hands on KB handle. That’s count 1. Jump back to strict plank. That’s count 2. Complete a strict tricep pushup, ensuring that chest touches KB/hands. That’s counts 3 & 4. Jump to a squat with hands still on KB. That’s count 5. Stand and complete an American KB swing. That’s count 6.

I completed rounds of 63 & 45 dus in unbroken reps but then missed the 27th — the very last! — du. Dammit. I completed snatches in reps of 11 & 10 for round of 21 and 8 & 7 for round of 15. The round of 9, of course, were done in unbroken reps. Although I did occasionally rest before jumping to plank, my hands didn’t leave KB for any of the rounds.

This was a gasser, and I enjoyed every moment!

Time = 12:50

I’m looking forward to impeachment but fear Pence. He’s just as big of an asshole and just as dangerous. The only think going for him is that he can usually speak in coherent sentences.

Jeff and I took Mother for a trolley tour of Asheville, and I learned much! Asheville is amazing, and I grow to love the town more and more each and every day.

Visit! Some of you, that is.




Basic Building Blocks

Wednesday, May 10 | Trails at Biltmore

I mistakenly set Spark 3 to record indoor cycling. Ha! I biked for an hour, focusing on control of the bike. I would have never imagined that the Biltmore grounds would have such challenging single trails! I approached an unseen switchback too quickly and did fall off my bike whilst attempting to make a sharp left turn. Yup, scraped my left knee. I’m beginning to get my “bike legs” back. Once I do I’ll join my BBF for a ride at Dupont.

Thursday, May 11 | Bear Basics

Bear Complex
5 Rounds
7 reps
PC + FS + PP + BS + (behind the neck) PP

Faithful readers know that I’m a stickler for proper form. As prescribed, one’s hands are not to leave the bar for the 7 reps. In addition, I ensured that I did not reposition my feet or my hands. Thus, with the exception of heels leaving floor for power clean, both feet remained in the same spot and both hands remained on the barbell for all 7 reps each round. I didn’t even drop the final rep from the top, instead bring the barbell to shoulders, mid-thigh, and then floor. It would’ve been easier to reposition hands for behind the neck push press, as the closer the hands the longer the distance the bar has to travel.

My focus was not on lifting heavy weight. Again, the focus was on form. I completed sets at 65, 70, 75, 80, & 85#. That’s 35 power cleans, front and back squats, and 70 push presses. Shit was not that heavy but shit certainly began to feel heavy.

I plan on completing the Bear Complex once a month. Just because.

Friday, May 12 | Couplet

There’s a time and a place for couplets. Uhm, but programming shouldn’t only include lifting heavy weight followed by a couplet.

100 double unders
25 power cleans 75#
90 dus
20 PCs 85#
80 dus
15 PCs 95#
70 dus
10 PCs 105#
60 dus
5 PCs 115#
50 dus
5 PCs 125#
40 dus
5 PCs 135#
30 dus
5 PCs 145#
20 dus
5 PCs 155#
10 dus
5 PCs 160#

This was quite challenging! Changing the weights was welcome recovery. I missed 1 PC rep at 155#. Given that 165# is my current 1RM, I was pleased that I completed 5 @ 160#.

Time = 32:32

That’s 550 dus & 100 PCs. And a hell of a lot of fun.

I’m giving Sense8 another try. I’ll definitely be binge watching Master of None.

It’s incomprehensible to me that the supposed leader of the free world is such a blatant liar.


CrossFit Pottrell

Things I like about having a garage gym (in no particular order):

  • I can work out whenever I’d like.
  • I can spend as little or as much time as I’d like on any given skill.
  • As I warm up on my own the warmup addresses the skills I’ll be working on, e.g., stretching glutes and hamstrings for deadlifts.
  • The only person I’m competing with is myself. Faithful readers know that one of the things that pisses me off the most is being watched by others as I work out. Of course the thing that pisses me off the most is being cheered for as I work out.
  • The equipment is clean — and cleaned.
  • Luke is always by my side. That’s the one thing that hasn’t much changed.
  • I can take off my shirt if I’d like. I don’t usually care to do so.
  • My coach is dreamy. And he actually coaches me (although seldom out loud).
  • I can play show tunes as I work out!

Sunday, May 7 | Thwarted

Jeff and I went for a bike ride at the Biltmore. It was Jeff’s first time on the bike and, well, he’ll need to get his “sea legs.” Thus, I didn’t get much exercise, as the ride was leisurely. I decided to take Luke for a run at the NC Arboretum. For whatever reason, Luke just wasn’t interested in running, and after running less than 2 miles we began to walk. How did I know he wasn’t interested? Because he lallygagged too far behind me. I kept having to stop and wait for him, and instead of becoming frustrated I let him walk at a pace that was comfortable for him. However, I really wanted to at least feel like I had exercised, so I finally began to set up garage gym. There were cobwebs on the barbell. Ha!

Not For Time; rest 2 minutes between activities
– 50 push presses (75#)
– 50 power cleans (85#)
– 50 deadlifts (135#)
– 50 med ball cleans (30#) 

Given my recent experiences, I just wanted to go light and fast, as that’s what I did. Uhm, I did have a timer but I can’t recall finishing time. Surprisingly, the med ball cleans were the most challenging of the activities, perhaps because I completed them last.

Monday, May 8 | Horse Stall Mats

Luke and I went for a 5.5-mile walk (and sometimes run) at the Biltmore. What a beautiful morning! I checked out the inventory for horse stall mats at the very local (1.7 miles from our home) Southern States and discovered they had just the mats I was looking for, so Luke and I purchased two 6X4 mats. What’s so great about them? Flat surface with grippers on the bottom. (That sounds like the title of a gay porn film.) I programmed a fast and furious metcon.

10, 9, 8…3, 2, 1
SDHPs (85#)
HR pushups

As to be expected, I completed all rounds in unbroken reps in a time of 7:05.

Tuesday, May 9 | MTS

I was concerned that Luke would miss being at CFS, but it appears that he’s truly enjoying our very long hikes/walks/runs together. I parked the Renegade on the Blue Ridge Parkway and we went for a 4.5-mile hike/walk/run on the Mountains to Sea trail. Whilst somewhat overcast, ’twas nonetheless a glorious morning! There are few things I enjoy more than seeing Luke run all out, and he had the opportunity to do so on many occasions. He never lets me out of this sight.

I was itching for a metcon that lasted longer than 20 minutes.

30-min AMRAP
– 10 UNBROKEN power clean & jerks (75#)
– 10 UNBROKEN box jumps (24″)
– 10 UNBROKEN 8-count burpees
– 10 UNBROKEN Abmat sit-ups

First, 75# is more than half of my bodyweight, and as my intent was to complete reps very quickly I wanted to ensure that I lifted a manageable weight. Rest assured that by the 9th and 10th reps of each rounds, well, shit started to feel heavy. I also ensured that reps were cleaned & immediately jerked, i.e., receiving the bar for cleans was initial dip for jerks. I’ve been experiencing a little pain in right achilles, so I did not rebound off box for jump, but I did nonetheless immediately begin next jump when feet touched the ground. Eight-count burpees just take a shitload of time to complete, and were perhaps the most demanding of the activities. Sit-ups were a welcome relief.

I had completed 4 rounds with about 16 minutes remaining, so I set a goal to complete 8 rounds. Whilst completing 8th round of C&Js I thought, “Thank god this is the last time I”ll have to do these.” I was wrong, for with about a minute remaining I had completed the 8th round. I quickly transitioned to barbell and completed 10 unbroken reps. There was still time remaining on the clock! I finished with 5 box jumps.

Score = 8 rounds + 15 reps; 90 power C&J, 85 box jumps, & 80 burpees and sit-ups

I listened to “Dear Evan Hansen.” Yup, show tunes, bitches!

Luke slept on his bed just outside the garage door.

I’ve been wearing my TomTom Spark 3 watch 24/7, and it’s been interesting to see sleep patterns (still wake up after 6 hours of sleep) and resting hear rate (about 48 ppm). I also enjoy reviewing heart rate during WOD. For example, I averaged 128 bpm during 30-min AMRAP with a maximum of 163 — that I hit during very last minute of workout.


Ragnar Trail Richmond-VA

(From L to R): Heather, Laurie, Jaclyn, Alex, me, Brian C., and Nick. (I think that’s Brian F. behind Nick.)

April 28 & 29, 2017

After sensing the excitement I had after running a Ranger race last year, many members of CrossFit Surmount, the box I used to own, mentioned they’d like to run a race as well. At one time we had more than enough interest for two teams of 8. Uhm, at least Team 1 was able to secure 8 members: Alexandra (Alex), Brian C., Brian F., Heather, Jaclyn, Laurie, Nick, and me. Our number one goal was to have fun, and whilst I can’t collectively speak for all of us I can unequivocally state that I had fun. For the most part.

Before I begin to gather thoughts and compose recollections, I must give a very special thank you to my BBF (Best Brian Friend) Brian F. for agreeing to run the race with us. I’ve known Brian and his wife Danielle since we met the day I ran my first first Umstead Marathon a decade ago. Brian and Dee moved to Brevard a few years ago, and it’s been wonderful spending more time with them.

Back to the team…

As the team captain I carefully chose the order of runners:

  1. Jaclyn — As it was her birthday weekend and I know she likes being one of the first runners in a relay, I assigned her this position. You’re welcome, Jaclyn.
  2. Brian C. — Brian C. can be counted on to run a nice, steady pace. I knew this would help set the stage for later runners. Whilst he’s my LFB (Least Favorite Brian) he’s most BCF (Best Covington Friend).
  3. Laurie — Laurie and Jaclyn are joined at the hip; thus, I couldn’t place the two of them too far apart. I’m pretty sure they spooned as they slept.
  4. Nick — Nick is also a good, consistent runner. I hoped that this would help keep and possibly build momentum.
  5. Heather — Heather is a very strong runner. (She unfortunately sprained her ankle during her very first leg and wasn’t able to run as fast as she normally does.)
  6. Brian F. — I selfishly wanted Brian to run close to the time that I’d be running, that way we’d be able to spend more time together. He is, after all, my BBF.
  7. Alex — Alex is a spitfire! I selfishly wanted a fast runner to pass the bib to me, knowing that she would finish strong and would transition quickly.
  8. Me — I hate running the last leg. However, as the team captain I knew that no one would want to run the last leg. I fell on the proverbial sword. You’re welcome, all.

Our start time was 5:30. I had created a spreadsheet with estimated start and finish times and we modified as needed. As the race progressed we determined that it’d be likely that we’d finish near 3 pm; thus, we’d be running fewer than 24 hours.

This blog will focus on the 3 legs that I ran in order: Yellow, Green, and Red, i.e., moderate, easy, and difficult. I’d rate the three legs as moderate, easy and exceedingly difficult.

But first, Brian and I talked nonstop the entire 5.5-hour ride to the Pocahontas State Park outside of Richmond, VA. Brian was telling me about some road races that he had run and even a race that he won!

Me: You won a race? That’s great?
Brian: Yeah.
Me: How’d you do that? How’d you win a race?
Brian: I had to move away from you before I could win a race.

Ha! This still makes me laugh.

Uhm, I made a very novice mistake. I placed 2 pair of trail shoes at the top of the garage stairs, as I always exit through the garage and I knew this would be a great visual reminder. I packed enough shit to last a week, including food, hydration, and clothing. Brian and I exited through the front door, and it wasn’t until we arrived at the race that I realized I had forgotten shoes. I decided to wear Nobull shoes the first leg and ended up wearing them for all 3 legs. As the trails were quite smooth, this ended up not necessarily being a bad thing. Could I have run faster and more confidently had I worn trail shoes? Perhaps. One will never know.

Yellow Loop – Swift Creek Trail | 5.7 mi.

The Yellow Loop runs parallel to Swift Creek Lake for the first 2.5 miles, crossing mini-bridges, and swooping up and down small contours. Then the trail turns away from the lake and starts the clockwise turn back home. But don’t worry, you’re still in for a few more miles of fun, fast, buffed out single-track before and the loop is done. Just past mile 5 you’ll join up with the Green and Red Loops to kick it back into the Village.

The waiting is the hardest part. Jaclyn began the race at 5:30 and it wasn’t until about 11:30 that I finally got to run. It was still rather warm and was very humid. I wore a headlamp that Brian C. was kind enough to loan me. I loved this course! It had lots of twists and turns, and many hills. Yes, running in the dark slowed me down as I was running in unfamiliar territory. Nonetheless, I ran strong. I did, however, forget to start my watch until about a quarter mile into the run. Dammit. I also didn’t turn off my watch until I had placed the bib on Jaclyn; thus, split times are inaccurate.

I’ve previously mentioned that I have a TomTom Spark 3. To save battery life I don’t have the backlight on whilst running, but by placing and then removing a hand over the face of the watch the backlight shines for a moment. And this happened…

I placed my left hand on the face of the watch (I always wear my watch on my right wrist) and whilst doing so fell to the ground. ‘Twas a hard fall. A very hard fall. I skinned my left shin, thigh, and hip, and both my right and left forearms between wrist and elbow. I immediately stood up and began running. A female runner behind me yelled, “Hey, you forgot your bracelet!” I had hit the ground so forcefully that the snap wrist band had been thrown from my personage. I ran back to her, grabbed the band, thanked her, and was on my merry way. Merry, not gay. Well, perhaps a little gay.

I also had a near fall later in the leg as I unsuccessfully tried to jump over a narrow stream. My foot slipped, both hands touched the ground, but I didn’t fall. I said, “Well, that didn’t go well.” I didn’t realize I had said it aloud until I heard a couple of runners chuckle. Ha!

I passed 51 runners, the 51st as we entered the final sprint to the exchange.

I thoroughly enjoyed this leg!

Time = 51:23; 9 mpm 

Yup, I ran this leg faster than my teammates.

Click here for details.

I attempted to get some sleep before my next leg, but to no avail. Why? Because there were a group of assholes in the tents directly behind us. One male burped loudly and continuously. How loudly? I was wearing ear plugs and had placed a pillow over my head yet every time he belched it sounded like a shot gun was begin fired inside my tent. I then had to listen to him talk to a teammate about his bout with diarrhea. The entire team was talking in their OUTSIDE voices. Yes, we were outside, but we were also in very close quarters. And it was the fucking middle of the night. Doza finally approached them and asked if they’d pipe it down a bit. Fortunately there wasn’t an altercation.

But still I couldn’t sleep. Why, you ask? Because we were positioned behind a line of about 40 porte-potties. Just about every person allowed the door to slam as they exited. BANG BANG bang, BANG BANG bang, BANG BANG bang, BANG BANG bang. Over and over and over.


I shan’t talk about the smell. Or the sights. Okay, just this one: someone had obviously stood above the toilet to shit, and the seat had a big piece of shit on it. Some people have no regard for others. Some people are assholes. There were quite a few assholes at this particular event.

On a positive note, there were also some very friendly people (who may or may have not shat on a toilet seat). Every runner that I passed moved to the right to allow me to do so. Most said encouraging words, e.g., “Great job!”

Green Loop – Beaver Lake Trail | 4.3 mi.

This Loop leaves the Village along with the Red Loop, and takes you out to the main section of mountain bike trails in the park. After ¾ of a mile, you’ll split right from Red and the single-track adventure begins! The trail has a great flow, leaving you with a fleet feet feel. Around mile 2.5 the trail turns to double-track for a short bit before a quick turn that spits you back onto single-track down to Beaver Lake. For the next mile the trail is pretty constant, offering some great views of the lake. Before you know it, you’ll re-join Red , cross the spillway and climb back up to the Village.

Whilst I hand’t gotten much sleep, as the sun rose I began to feel somewhat energetic. ‘Twas time to run the next leg just before 7. And it was indeed easy! I set a goal to run 8 mpm when the terrain allowed, having been warmed that there was a steep hill at the start of the mile 4. I did so, running 7:57, 7:56, 8:06, and 8:56. I ran the last .3 at a 6:54 mpm pace, and had a very strong finish.

I passed 47 runners.

Click here for details.

Time = 35:31; 8:15 mpm

Yup, I ran this leg faster than my teammates.

There was much talk about how the Yellow leg was more difficult than the Red leg, and that I’d really enjoy the Red leg. As the day progressed the temperature continued to rise. But the time it was my turn to run my and the team’s final leg, the temperature was a very balmy 92º. I was dreading this leg, as it’s exceedingly difficult to run fast in this kind of heat and humidity.

Red Loop – Spillway Trail | 5.4 mi.

The Red Loop takes advantage of some of the park’s great single-track trails. After splitting away from the Green Loop ¾ of a mile in, things take a turn, and another turn, and another. This trail twists and turns so much you may lose your sense of direction. But don’t worry–just follow the course signage and let the joy flow. Before you know it, you’ll meet back up with the Green Loop on your way back to the Village, smile fully intact.

I was exhausted. I had eaten a Paleo kit, a few pieces of bacon, and a hard boiled egg. I stayed hydrated, making sure that my urine was clear. I just wanted the race to be over, as again, the waiting was the hardest part. I also somehow managed to break the toenail of my left middle toe. Dammit. I bandaged it and tried to ignore the pain.

I began my final leg at about 2:10 pm. There was little cloud cover, and there were many exposed sections of the course. ‘Twas fucking hot.

As with the two previous legs, I carried a water bottle. I filled the bottle at the water station just before the start of the race, and as time passed the water got warmer and warmer. I felt like I was drinking boiled water, and my thirst was not at all quenched.

The course had many switchbacks. I usually like running courses with twists and turns, but I felt defeated about midway through the run. Yes, I was passing runners. No, I wasn’t being passed by runners. Nonetheless, I felt very slow and lethargic.

I was getting very overheated, so I poured some water on my head. And it felt like I was taking a hot shower. I could feel myself getting hotter and hotter, and I knew I was getting dehydrated. I began to talk to myself. “Don’t stop. That’s you’re only goal. Just don’t stop. As much as you might want to walk, just don’t stop.”

I did stop, but I’m not counting it as a failure, for I stopped at the water station to fill my now empty bottle. The water was slightly cool, so I poured half of the contents on my head and neck and drank the rest.

I was nonetheless growing more and more weary. As I was running mile 5 I suddenly realized that my eyelids were closing. I once again fell to the ground, this time scraping my right knee and palm. My glasses flew from my head and it took me a few moments to gather myself and retrieve my glasses. The only positive thing that can be said is that I didn’t cry. Likely because I wasn’t hydrated enough to cry.

My shirt, shorts, socks, and shoes were all soaking wet.

Uhm, my splits clearly show deterioration: 8:13, 8:47, 9:25, 9:09, and 10:29.

I had a strong finish. And that’s about it. As I was approaching the finish I thought, “Go directly to the medical tent. Get an IV.” I instead exited and walk to an area with some shade. I felt nauseous and my vision was very cloudy. I knew, however, that my teammates were waiting to celebrate so I eventually forced myself to stand and find them. I pretended that things were much better than they actually were. We had our group picture taken and then folks started to depart. I drank a Harpoon UFO (probably not the best idea) and sat with Alex and Brian as my BBF retrieved the Renegade.

Click here for details.

Time = 51:18; 9:30 mpm

Yup, I ran this leg faster than my teammates.

Brian was a lifesaver, as he drove from Richmond past Greensboro, about 3 of the 5.5 hours. He even allowed me to sleep for an hour. This was for the best, as I was certain that I was going to have to tell him to pull over so I could puke. I also had an empty Sheetz bag at the ready. Yup, I felt that bad.

We did eventually stop at a Sheetz and I forced myself to eat 2 hot dogs and drink a large cream soda. We stopped once again just before I began to drive and I had McDonald’s coffee and fries. Fries! I hadn’t had McDonald’s fries in years! Uhm, they were delicious.


Finish Time: 21:30:10 
Overall: 13/241
Category (Mixed): 3/98

We came in third place!

A few weeks ago Jeff and I had the following conversation…

Me: I’m running with folks who are in the twenties and thirties, yet I’m in my fifties and will likely be the fastest person on the team. That shouldn’t be the way it is. The younger runners should be the fastest runners.
Jeff: But you’re Paul. You’re not like everyone else. 

I think he was complimenting me. I think.