Hamsters and Unicorns and Llamas

 

Oh my.  Running has been a bit of a zoo lately.

Hamsters

“Never. Again”

I admit spewing a stream of “never again” invective around Mile 90 of last year’s Howard Aslinger 24-Hour Endurance Run.  Appealing as running around a 0.984-mile loop for 24 hours might be for most people, I was pretty sure this was an experience I didn’t really want to experience again.

And then I won.

So, ego and morbid fascination combined to propel me back to Cape Girardeau for another go at the Hamsterfest.  Was I really that good?  Was there some latent gene that was just now firing?  WAS I THE NEXT ULTRAMARATHON MAN?

Clearly the answer was a resounding NO.  Volodymyr Balatskyy from the Ukraine obliterated OBLITERATED my 2014 course record.  But it was a fun 22 hrs with good friends.

We have video to prove it.

Unicorns

It would take a 3 hr 29 min 59 sec effort to earn a blue and gold ticket to the 2015 Boston Marathon.  With 8 miles to go on a roller coaster of a St. Louis marathon course, the two minutes I had in the bank were starting to devalue faster than the drachma.

And then my running buddy, Steve Hadzima, magically appeared.  Out for a leisurely long run, he didn’t know how long his long run would take him.  His accidental pacing made all the difference.

Boston 2015 EricA hard-earned 3:28:58 that day was most assuredly a BQ (Boston qualifying time) by 61 seconds and had most assuredly earned me an 8th trip to Boston.  I was most assuredly WRONG.  Several months later it turned out the race was heavily oversubscribed.  Despite beating the qualifying standard, a seemingly arbitrary IN/OUT cutoff was set for my age group at 3:28:59.  I had missed Boston by one second.

One effing second.  BUT AT LEAST I WASN’T BITTER.

The Hole In the Wall Gang offered me a charity bib and we turned that ONE SECOND into $8217 to help seriously ill kids just be kids.  Thank you.

We did run Boston for the 8th year in a row…it was a cold, windy, rainy, miserable day.  And it was awesome.

We have video to prove it.

Llamas

And now the ramp-up to 10,200 ft at 4 AM on August 22 begins.  The ytd mileage tally stands at 1339 with a goal of 2000 miles by the time Ken Chloubler pulls the trigger on 32nd Leadville 100 Trail Run.

I have toed the line for the LT100 Llamarama three times and have three buckles to show for it.  So, you know what that means?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

4862_a312_450There are no guarantees in this 100-mile, 17,000′-vert, oxygen-deprived sufferfest.  Except for one.  Over 50% of the runners starting this year’s race will not finish.  This race has bested some of the world’s greatest ultrarunners.  Anton Krupicka.  Dean Karnazes.  Who’s next?  Me?  You?

To run this race well requires just the right mix of four ingredients: Training, confidence, humility and dumb luck.  And there is no recipe.  You make it up as you go hoping experience will help . . . also knowing experience alone will be woefully inadequate.

The world’s greatest pacers, Susan Strand Vickerman and Dan Turpin, will be joining me on the return trip from Winfield to Leadville for the fourth year in a row.  The Amazing Tami Strand will be heading up crewing duties with some help from Zach Strand.  And we’ll be raising a few $$ for a very good cause.  Tami and I are priming the pump with the first $1000 . . . click below if you would like to learn more.
Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise

Happy trails to you,

Eric

p.s. The 4th Annual Grandma’s Marathon DOUBLE is once again ON!  2:45 AM start at the Grandma’s Marathon FINISH LINE in Duluth on Saturday, June 20, 2015.  We will run to the start of the marathon in Two Harbors and then make our way back to Duluth with the rest of the crowd.  Several people have said they will join me this year.  But they say that every year. Zach Strand will be running the marathon for the third time . . . but this year he actually trained!  Lean, mean and fast . . . he’ll be knocking off his old man in a few years.

Here’s vid from last year’s double.  Enjoy!

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Eric June 5, 2015 Uncategorized