Friday, June 19, 2009


The 50 mile Birthday ultra run was a smashing success!!! Race Director J.T. is happy and so is the runner himself....J.T.!!!

What day. Its a day later and I have my left foot propped up and its red and swollen. I will have to see a professional about it. More on that.

These things all happened.
1. Nearly arrested
2. Garmin nearly died
3. Ran some mileage on pavement...yuck

Weds night I tested out my new head lamp. Princeton Tec. Turned out the lights and ate pasta with the lamp!!

Thurs slight rain...I headed to North Chagrin Reservation. Had all the supplies and was ready. Started at 3:30am. Plan was to run 2 or 3 mile loops and get to car at Strawberry for supplies..

Got in my first loop and returned to the lot. Whoops!! Ranger there with lights flashing. "May I see your license? Are you aware the park is closed???" I stammered some responses, he checked the license and then...after making me wait 10 minutes issued a warning. Leave the park and do NOT return til 6am. Ohh license tag was one day expired.

So from about 4am till 6am this is what I saw. Ran on Chardon and Chagrin River Road. Headlamp was great for the drivers. They saw me coming. By 6am I was 11 plus miles in and could return to Strawberry and resume on the trails.

Saw Betty and met Becky and they encouraged me. I started free lancing the park and using my Garmin to keep track. Did loops to Squires. I would return every 3 miles are so to load up.

I used tons of water.. 8 GU ROCTANE. (Love that stuff) Trail Mix, 6 ibprofens in a small bag with salt. I would grab a pill and couple pinches of salt when I took a pill. Gatorade was also used.

I played mental games to keep the run fresh. Kept The Bride aware of my progress. She was gonna come by a couple times and and my son Pat planned on getting there to run the final 20 with me.

25 miles in, I felt discomfort just above my left ankle. I thought it was a tendon getting traumatized but I kept running. I was really fighting it but what kept me going was something all endurance athletes rely on to battle through adversity. The inner will to test yourself to the limit!! I had been watching David Goggins videos on YouTube and they inspire. I also thought of the kids who deal with Cerebral Palsy. I have been associated with the Cleveland organization this past year. Last summer, I swam for Team Dawud. (see my sidebar, me in swimcap and Dawud in helmet) I became friends with Kristen who's daughter Julia has CP. I thought of the strength and courage these kids and their families muster up to perform daily tasks is remarkable. I knew running 50 miles would be thought as a big deal by many, but deep down I knew the kids with CP have more toughness and determination that a race filled with ultra pushed on...and on.

The weather remained overcast and somewhat cool. Perfect Day!!!!

Patrick arrived at mile 29 and that was perfect timing. 3 weeks ago, he ran 50k to celebrate his 30th birthday. I was dragging a bit when he got there and we starting running some different trails that he is accustomed too...and after awhile he was getting the lay of the park. Up till about 38 miles I was slowing a little more and fighting the pain in left foot. But by mile 37 I started to really get my rythmn and we were moving very well. 10 minute miles and the pain was more in the back of my mind.

The Bride showed up again at mile 42 and we had cookies..some o.j., which I never had in a race before. It helped. We kept going and I could see the end. Running sections of the park that had roots actually helped, because I was focused on the ground and could feel like I was moving very well. By mile 48 the Garmin was warning me that power was low.. I was obsessed with breaking 12 hours and beating the Garmin to finish. It worked. 11 hours, 54 minutes.

Afterward, I iced my left knee and my left ankle and we headed home. Two strip steaks bit the dust. I ate everything in sight.

This morning I spoke with my doctor who says I just traumatized the foot and to keep it elevated and keep the Aleve coming. If it persists, I will get an ex-ray. He also referred me to an orthapedic professional who is a runner and who would understand why I need to do this and why it is so fulfilling to attack a challenge and not back down and why we always must strive to be our best...every day....every mile.

Life's a blast!!


Matt Collister said...

Excellent - congratulations!

Jen and I were biking around the park from about 6:30 - 7:30 a.m. Too bad we didn't see you.

Kelli said...

Awesome Job! If I ever come to Cleveland I'll have to try out those trails.

Donald said...

Sweeeet! Way to go, JT! Self-supported runs seem about 10 times more challenging than races with aid stations. So congrats on a huge accomplishment - I can only hope that I'll be doing this in my fifties.

Enjoy your recovery time ... you've earned it.

Missy said...

HOLY CRAP JT, that rocks! Glad you didn't get arrested;) You have to be proud of yourself. Hope you're feeling tip top!

OH, you're lookin pretty lean there Mr.

Wes said...

Excellent work, JT. While I have no desire to crack the 50 mile distance. I understand. Happy Birthday!!

MoninaW said...

You almost got arrested! Ha! It made my hubby and me laugh to read about your encounter with Metropark Rangers!

Congrats JT! And take care of those aches and pains...

Lily on the Road said...

Congrat's JT, you're right, don't back down. Glad you're getting checked out and by someone who understands "us".

Now rest up and take care.

Brian said...

wow. nice job. you have definitely progressed as a runner to be able to do that.

JenC said...

We rode through the park twice that morning. Wish we'd seen you on a break. Great job! I am just running 1:45 on Sunday at N. Chagrin and that seems like a lot right now.

duchossois said...

Well done, John. Really. Congratulations. Well done.
Try ice baths...should really help on your knee and ankle trauma.

Team Dawud said...

Outstanding! You are an inspiration to us all at UCP. We told little Dawud that you ran 50 miles and his response was that you are an ANIMAL :) .You just made us raise the bar in our training!

Dawud and Aminah

Smithposts said...

Congrats on reaching your goal...50 mi under 12 hrs! Happy Birthday!!

triguyjt said...

cleveland area athletes remember Cleveland triathlon Aug 2nd. Many families and UCP personnel will be racing in teams and also individuals. Any support would be appreciated!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You are absoulutely amazing!! What an awesome way to celebrate. You go, triguy! So when does Patrick try this also? What a marvelous bond between father and son. Happy Father's Day!

Kim said...

Very excellent!! Very tough to do an unsupported 50 miler on your own! Congratulations!!

Charlie said...

Amazing! Well done.Hope the body is recovering well.

Benson said...

whoa, that is really great.
Nice job.
Heal up.

Rainmaker said...

Holy cow you're an animal. Happy belated birthday and serious congrats for just simply going out there and crushing it!

RunBubbaRun said...

Very nice JOB JT!! 50 mile race is tough, but doing it on your own, that's a great accomplishment.

Rest up and recover fast..