Archive for March, 2015


Posted: March 30, 2015 by coachwestbrook in Daily Runs & Reflections

March 30, 2015 (Monday)

Today’s run was an easy 6.23 miles in the evening.  And, the evening had a cool edge to it and was enamored with colors bursting out all over.  Spring!

It was an evening run as opposed to my usual morning runs.  The morning was taken with preparation for an afternoon interview with the TV channel 30, Atlanta Public Broadcasting Station.  It was an interview about my running emphasizing the running streak and ultra running.

Trevor Keller, the narrator, asked some good questions and hit on things I had not thought of in a loooong time.  I answered the best I knew how at the time hoping all the time that I didn’t look or sound like a goof.  I’ll have to see the short program, This is Atlanta, which will be just a few minutes long, to see how goofy I actually was.  It is to be aired on April 18.


Posted: March 26, 2015 by coachwestbrook in Daily Runs & Reflections

March 25, 2015

Rut, begone!


Posted: March 24, 2015 by coachwestbrook in Daily Runs & Reflections

March 24, 2015

OK…The run today got me out of the rut of the last few days.  The day was a beautiful day to run with the deep blue sky buffeted by billowy clouds.  The temperature was comfortable for the 16+ miles that I was eager to do.  The Hoka Cliftons took me for a good ride.

Hopefully, I’m out of the rut, but time will tell.  I’ll know more tomorrow.


Posted: March 22, 2015 by coachwestbrook in Daily Runs & Reflections

March 22, 2015

Finished 41 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days of my streak in the rain.  The run of 7.22 miles was an easy effort run (which just about all of mine are) and got me to 75+ miles this week.  Yesterday and today, I was mentally in a rut going into the runs, so I ran less than originally planned.  Still, the weekly mileage is OK as far as preparing for upcoming ultra races of which the next one is on April 11.  Will run myself out of the rut…soon, I hope.

Race Report:                                                                                                                                                                           Florida Route 40 Romp – 116 Miles,                                                                                                                          March 7, 2015                                                                                                                                                           Yankeetown, FL to Ormond Beach, FL

            When I read the race information, it seemed like a good idea for an adventure run and a race all wrapped up in one bundle.  That would be the Cross Florida Route 40 Romp – all 116 miles of it.  It would start on the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the road west of Yankeetown and end at Ormond Beach on the Atlantic Ocean.

            In Yankeetown, that road which is county road 40 (CR40) also has the moniker of “Follow That Dream Parkway.”  By reading the roadside marker, I found that the name is because the movie, Follow That Dream, had some location shots made there with Elvis doing his thing.  That means that I will have to find that movie and watch it to see if I recognize any of the locations.  That is, if I still have that curiosity after this thing is over…maybe, I’ll just want to forget all about this event and anything connected with it.

            7:32 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, March 7, 2015 saw the start of the 116-mile race.  After a few minutes of gathering final details and preparing for the start, the eleven runners toed the starting line between two stop signs with the gulf at our back.  Unfortunately, we also had a headwind to run into, and it would last all the way to Ormond Beach.  But, fortunately, the wind was not so formidable as to greatly hamper the running, but it did make the starting miles colder than I would have liked.

            One of my goals in this race was to run efficiently for as long as I could.  I wanted to use that efficiency to bring me to a comparison of 100 miles in a 24-hour framework to see what I needed to make it better.  My last 24-hour effort yielded 73.03 miles, and that was almost a year ago.  My parameters for my efficiency would be form and pace.  Secondly, another primary goal was just simply to run as much as possible through the distance, especially the first 100-miles.

We all started conservatively in the cold morning air and headed out on the two-lane asphalt toward Yankeetown.  From the start, David Krupski, age 38, took the lead and kept it all the way leaving the rest of us behind.  Any challenge to his pace was short lived.  I saw this happening as I concentrated on my goals from back in the pack. 

            The pack was jovial as we headed east.  Myself, not liking to talk during a race, just listened and analyzed the other runners’ pace, form, and effort.  That told me early on who might run a good race and who might just crash and burn.  All the while, I was trying to be patient and true to my goals.

            The only one I knew in this race was Salt Shack who was a Vol-State runner last year.  Also, I knew Scott Maxwell who was probably the most laid-back race director I have experienced.  I knew Scott from the Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic where he ran with me this last December as he was running the 50 kilometer while I was running the 50-mile race.  Scott didn’t give me a chance in that race.  I had to talk to him along the way…he wouldn’t go away and would not shut up.  So, I talked.  With him, it wasn’t so bad.

            We spread out quickly with several runners racing ahead of me.  I fought the urge to go with them which would force me to abandon my pace and effort.  I let them go.  Some stayed behind me and slowly dropped even more behind.  But, I was aware they were there and that they may come back on me at any point.  One cannot ever underestimate a runner.

            The first runner I gained on was Salt Shack, still in the early miles before Yankeetown.  A sidewalk started at the approximate five-mile mark and Shack was moving away from me.  He had upped his pace to catch the pack ahead of him.  I thought then that his move may be to my advantage in the later miles of the race.

            I was comfortably dressed in shorts, layered long-sleeve garments, and gloves.  I was dancing in Hoka Cliftons which felt great.  But, the shoes always feel great early in the race.  I’ll wait and see how they feel at ninety miles.  I felt confident that they will feel just as good then as now.

            The course was typical Florida…virtually flat with an occasional gentle hill here and there.  The route was on county road 40 which eventually hit state road 40.  This was across the peninsula in the more northern half of the state.  This part of the state has beautiful agricultural areas through which we ran.  This western part of the route had us on a two-lane highway.  A Saturday morning presented no traffic problems as we approached Dunnellon.

            A few rolling hills leading north of Dunnellon had us taking our third and last turn on the course.  All three turns were in Dunnellon or close proximity.  Leaving Dunnellon had me at 24 miles as I turned right on state road 40.  Now, straight to Ormond Beach.  But, first it would be Ocala.

            I felt good as I slowly approached Ocala.  I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful vistas on my left and right.  I ran through majestic horse ranches and farmland.  In between were small thrusts of forests that splashed darkened green among the open landscapes of ranches and homes.  The highway was still two-lane.   

            I like running on two-lane roads even though a lot of runners prefer the larger four-lane and divided roads for safety reasons.  I have seldom felt endangered on two-lane roads.  Even with the smallest road shoulders, I seem to have enough room for safety.  The two-lane roads are more intimate and seem to foster a deeper feel for the surroundings.  It helps make me more of a part of the terrain I’m running through.  And, here, I was in my element…at least, for the time being.

            I felt like I was fairly efficient running with good technique and sustaining my run with only walking while taking aid.  This held through busy Ocala where I passed the 50-mile aid station and had a root beer.  Also, in Ocala I had a cheeseburger and medium Coke from McDonald’s and consumed it while walking a bit.  It would prove to render good energy later in the race.

            I entered the Ocala National Forest at some point east of Ocala.  I don’t know exactly where the forest started.  Darkness came while running through the forest.  The road had wide grassland between the road and the forest growth.  With the full moon, there was enough light that I would not have to use a headlamp.  Just before it got completely dark, I heard a rustling in the growth to my left.  I looked over and saw a black bear coming out of the forest.  Before I could decide what to do, the bear did a quick u-turn and retreated to the woods.  It might have been my 65+ mile odor that offered my protection.  Whatever…if it works, I’ll take it.

            I left the forest after about twenty miles.  It was a pleasant stretch with the only malignancy being the seemingly endless flights of motorcycles rumbling through in both directions.  Where were they all going?  I found out that it was Bike Week and the thundering herds were going wherever motorcycle riders go in such things.  Don’t they make quiet motorcycles anymore?

            Before the race, I figured I might have some trouble when I got past the 75-mile point.  Perhaps, this was because of my 73-miles in my last 24-hour run last May.  But, I felt really good wobbling along at my ultra pace.  I didn’t feel unusually fatigued.  Didn’t feel sleepy.  And, I was approaching the 100-mile mark. 

            I refused to look at my watch during the race because I wanted to run entirely on my biomechanical feedback.  The time would take care of itself.  But, I did check it at the 100.  I was surprised somewhat to hit the 100-miles in 23:57.  A little better than my 24-hour run last May.

The last sixteen miles was like a mental cool-down.  I just tried to keep my effort evenly metered in the last few hours.  I would get there and take what I had.  What I didn’t count on was some slight nausea in my gut.  I had this problem last May in the 24-hour race, but it was more severe.  Here, I figured if I could just lay down for five minutes, the nausea would subside.  At that point, a race monitor offered some ginger lozenges for the problem.  I took the ginger, reclined for five minutes, and everything was fine. 

            I would run on to the finish which was at A1A Highway right before the beach.  But, in this last mile, I managed to fall on the sidewalk after tripping over a protruding grate.  It seems like I’m going to fall somewhere in just about every race I run lately.  Five people immediately came to my aid.  I had to convince them that I was OK and had to keep going, get over the bridge, and to the finish line.  I appreciated their concern, but I had to go.

            I finished on my feet and kept going across A1A and to the beach.  The Hoka Cliftons which started with Gulf of Mexico water was now wet with the Atlantic Ocean.  I was fourth in a time of 28:42:36.  The race was done.

            The adventure completed.  Now, to find Follow that Dream.

(Richard Westbrook)




This book is not the normal tome about running that we see so much of to the degree that they all look alike. And, the subtitle, “A Love Affair with Running” can seem a little girly. But, when you get into the guts of this small book of 163 pages, you will appreciate its unique characteristic.

The first thing that strikes the reader is the complete honesty by the author, Rachel Toor. She opens up from the beginning and keeps it that way to the end. Sometimes, it seems a little contradictory, but when you think about it, it all seems very real…just the way people are.

In the induction which is titled “Toeing the Line,” Toor explains that the book is formatted like a marathon. It has twenty-seven chapters with the last one numbered .2, and the preceding ones numbered 1 through 26. You could look at it as a collection of essays on running with each one characterized by the author’s point of view. Of course, the topical relationship leans toward marathons and ultramarathons.

Through each mile marker (chapters), Toor opens up about herself. Through the book, she tells her story from a couch potato to runner. Along the way, she brings the reader into her world infused with her training, racing, relationships, and jobs. Her writing is clear and interesting.

Chapters such as The Body; Reasons Not to Run; The Routes; One Runner’s Beginnings; The Closet; The Coach; The Magazine Rack; Ride and Ties; Weekend Mornings; The First Marathon; Speed Goggles; The Fast Young Man; Boston; Becoming a Marathoner; Racing; The Western State; Injuries; Ultras; The Watch; The Coach (different from the first one); On The Road; The Hospital; Pacing; The Break-Up; The Curtain Rod; and Getting to the Finish. These titles drew my attention, and made me want to read them, especially Reasons Not to Run; Speed Goggles; Ultras; and The Watch. Most of these chapter titles were obvious in their relation to running. Some of the others required some thought as to their relationships. But, as one reads the often humorous accounts, they too become obvious.

Rachel Toor is an experienced writer, and her writing in this book is easy to read and follow as she tells us how she became an experienced runner. Through it all, we can see that she thoroughly enjoys her running both in training and racing. She shares her thoughts while involved in each. The reader can relate to the author because these thoughts are shared. Toor writes to the experienced and beginner.

After reading this book, one can feel a friendship with the author. Her writing tends to get to the base level of the sport. She writes of things that the runner will find interesting and of value. The reader will be eager to read more from the author after reading this book.

Richard Westbrook


Posted: March 1, 2015 by smrtnsasy in Uncategorized
APRIL 11, 2015 (SATURDAY): Whispering Pines 12-Hour Trail Run, Inverness, Florida


MAY 20, 2015 (WEDNESDAY): Peach State 300-Mile Race, Dahlonega, Georgia to Tybee Island, Georgia