Archive for May, 2016


Paducah, Kentucky – the site of the Run Under the Stars 10-Hour Run.  And, fitting for the Bluegrass State, the race site was the Luther Carson Park Horse Track.  The date was June 11, 2016 which was a hot Saturday in Paducah.  Fortunately, the race started at 8:00 in the evening, and the temperature dropped from 96 high to 86 degrees by that time.

It was my first time at this event.  I know a lot of runners say they can’t stand running on a track (or any kind of small loop) over and over again, but I’ve never had a problem with it.  And, this horse track was a half-mile oval.  Also, it was a comfortably soft – but not too soft – earth surface.  It did raise some grit that became entrenched on the runners’ shoes, socks, ankles, and lower legs.  Quite a few runners wore “gators” to prevent dust and sediment from getting into the shoes and help prevent blisters. Luckily, I had none of those problems.

My goal at this event was to run as steadily as I could for the 10-hour time.  I wanted to minimize my walking to less than a mile over the accumulated distance and time.  Also, I wanted to reach 40 miles in ten hours.  The major purpose of me running this event was to help prepare for the The Last Annual Vol-State Road Race (LAVS) starting on July 14 and running from Missouri to Georgia in a ten day time limit.

I planned to run at a comfortable pace from the beginning and not concern myself with those going out faster.  I wanted to run “inside my head.”  That meant concentrating on my biomechanics and goals.  I would just end up with whatever finish place that would give me.  The bigger goal was the LAVS.

The site was conducive to self-aid by allowing parking on the grass infield so that one could have their personal aid right beside the track.  I had my truck slightly off the edge of the track so that all I had to do was take three steps to my cooler for my stuff.  That stuff included my standby drinks for this kind of situation.  Those “standbys” were cran-grapejuice, grapefruit juice, Coke, Gatorade, V-8 juice, and pickles.  The race provided aid-station supplied all the water I needed plus they had a great variety of foodstuff to energize the runners.  They did a great job with that.

I stuck to my plan which is something I don’t always do (and with some disastrous results.)  This allowed me to accomplish my mileage goal of 40 miles with 42.5 miles.  Also, my accumulated walking distance was less than a mile at a little less that three-fourths of a mile spread out over the ten hours.  I think my biomechanics were sound. My place was the 27th male out of 92 and 40th overall out of 180.  So, all-in-all, it was a successful event for me and improved my preparation for LAVS.

A highlight of the event happened when I arrived at the course a few hours early to see the layout.  While there, a few others showed up and the first of those was Robert Megert from Garland, Texas.  He drove to Paducah in a late-60’s (or early 70’s) Volkswagen “bug.”  There was only enough room in that thing for him.  It was packed with everything he could possibly need in the race.  We had a good talk about his “stuff,” the bug, his running, and his trip.  I parked next to him on the infield, and we continued our conversation on and off.  He was an interesting fellow.

Another very interesting runner was Colleen Johnson from Bolivar, Tennessee.  She is a cancer survivor and reached her 1000th mile in this event since becoming cancer free. She is truly a brave runner and an outstanding role model for all women.  I felt privileged to meet her.

And, then there was Dallas Smith of Cookeville, Tennessee.  He is a runner-writer, and I had read his book, Falling Forward.  I knew he was entered in the race, so I had brought my copy of Falling Forward to be autographed by him.  I bought a copy of his Bench of Despair which is about his running the LAVS.  He also autographed it.  We had a brief but good conversation, and I hope to see him again at some races.










After the race and after collecting my goodies, I cleaned up a bit, drank some chocolate milk, grabbed a burger on my way out of town, and hit the road.  Next will be LAVS in July, and I still have some more training to do for that one…the big one!


“It’s important to know that at the end of the day, it’s not the medals you remember.  What you remember is the process – what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty the training demands – these are things nobody can take away from you whether you finish twelfth or you’re an Olympic Champion.”

                                                                                         Silken Laumann, Canadian Olympian






I had an easy 3+ mile run today tapering down to the Strolling Jim 40-Mile Run this Saturday in Tennessee.  The race is actually 41.2 miles.  It is on the roads in Wartrace, Tennessee and is a tough race…which makes me wonder…

I have run this race several times over the years.  I remember how tough it is.  I remember how my quads burned in the severe hills early in the race.  I remember baking in the sun on stretches Tennessee asphalt.  I remember thinking they forgot to put out the aid stations as the miles seemed to get longer.  I remember the “walls,” a series of rolling hills late in the race that seemed to be there just to punish the runners (especially me.)  I remember finishing strong over the last two miles on my way to a victory (I have to reach way back for that memory.)

As I ran along in this cool morning, I wondered how I would do (as I normally think before a race) because of my recent training not being like it should be preparing for a race.  I had recovery time from an injured foot followed by a cold contracted from Rainbow, a granddaughter.

Interestingly, I read an article last week in ULTRARUNNING that was written by the Strolling Jim race director, Gary Cantrell.  It hit on the subject of race goals for the “runners with longevity” (which are old runners, like me.)  For those runners, he stated there were often multiple goals.  The first was “just finish” followed by “happy with” and culminating with “dream” goals.  This kept coming back to me as I ran today.

I think I fit into that genre.  I’m sure I will be on the starting line with the first (“just finish”)  goal in mind.  I hope I can progress to the second (“happy with”) goal.  I don’t think I can get to that third (“dream”) goal…just not prepared for that.  My mind bounced around all this as I ran easily through mile three to my finish.  We shall see how it goes on the hills of middle Tennessee


Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still.”

                                                                                                                           -Chinese Proverb