Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Race report: CTC Locomotion 12-Hour Run, April 14, 2018

    This was my third year of running the Chattanooga Track Club’s Locomotion 12-Hour Run.  It was my second year of running less miles than the previous year.  My first year and the first year of the race, 2016, I ran 56 miles in 12 hours.  The second year, 2017, I ran 48 miles.  This year, 2018, I ran 47.25 miles.

******************************************************

“Things got bad and things got worse…”

                                                                             Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lodi

********************************************

    Because of an injury incurred in last summer’s Last Annual Vol-State Road Race, I have muddled through diagnosis, rehab, and recovery over a period of time in which I could only run a mile each day until I was back to being close to normal.  That caused me to miss A Race For The Ages (ARFTA), one of my favorite events along with Vol-State.  I was “that old man jogging in the neighborhood” from late July through early January.

    I was using this race to help me prepare for this summer’s Last Annual Vol-State Road Race in July.  My goal in this race was to run as steadily as I could with no great concern to my pace.  Effort was my prime objective.  I wanted to start at a comfortable effort and feel confident of taking that “whatever” pace late into the race.  A weak strategy nestled in my mind was that most of the runners would start too fast for the distance and slow down a lot in the second six hours.  Then, I would come plodding along and overtake some of those “too eager” runners with a “too fast” pace.  Because of fatigue, they would be slowing down to my pace which would be dictated by my effort.  I would feel better in the last six hours and be able to leave some of those runners in my dust…which, as it turned out, would be mud.

    Well, the first problem was that the race moved from Camp Jordan in East Ridge, Tennessee to Greenway Farms in Hixson, Tennessee.  This was not a good move.  It changed from a multi-use path to a trail through the woods with some pavement and gravel thrown in the mix.  And, mud.

    The second problem was that the trail turned to mud (have I mention mud?) and miniature ponds when the rains came.  My running, as slow as it was, became an effort to keep from slipping into a partial or full blown fall into the mud.  The good thing was that I didn’t fall until my last loop, and that was in the last half-mile.

    The third problem was that my effort became harder because of that muddy, slippery surface.  It took a harder effort just to maintain running form and stay vertical.  All that led to more fatigue in the last six hours than I had planned.  That destroyed my strategy of catching anyone who started a lot faster, and that was just about everyone.  That’s not the first time (and probably won’t be the last) that my strategy was bogged into oblivion.  

    The fourth problem was that I am just slow.  I’ve heard that “slow is the new fast.”  Well, I’m still trying to figure that one out.

    I was the oldest runner in the 12-hour or the 6-hour individual races.  It has been said that with age comes wisdom.  If that is so, then why was I the oldest one running and my age-group peers chose not to run?

********************************************

“I do not choose to run.”

                                                                              Herbert Hoover, 30th President of the U.S.A

********************************************

The answer is obvious.  They are wise.  I am ________________ (fill in the blank).

    In such an event as this in which the runners run the same, rather short loop repeatedly, a runner can set up camp right beside the course and handle aid all on his or her own.  But, a crew helps immensely and clears the runner’s mind of details and confusion that invariably creep in the mind as the miles increase.  Aid can be dispensed without the runner stopping and preparing it.  Splits can be recorded.  Garments according to the weather can be more easily added or dispensed with during the run.

    I was helped by my crackerjack crew of two.  My daughter, Season, and granddaughter, Braylee (aka “Rainbow”), were right on top of the duties.  Actually, Rainbow was on top of playing in the area and in the rain and water…as a four-year old should be.  With Season’s help, all I had to concern myself with was deciding on what fluids or food to take from her.  She would then take my order and run ahead to prepare it and then run it to me if it wasn’t ready when I passed our camp.  She also recorded my splits…all the while, taking care of her four-year old wild child.  She recruited her friend, Wendell, to help, and he brought in a much appreciated milkshake late in the race.  A crew like this helps erase the negatives that a race, a venue, the weather can conjure up and in so doing, make things a lot better.  It is a lot easier on my mind when she is crewing.

20180414_183654

Rainbow…having more fun than I was having…

    To close this up…I finished in 10th place overall out of 30 finishers.  That was good enough to place as the first Male Grandmaster and snag the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Cross Country Championship for Tennessee for my age-group.  And, I feel lucky to accomplish that.  It made up somewhat for the rain and mud.

 ******************************************************

“Seldom do serious ultrarunners alter their plans because of the weather.”

                                                   Tom Foreman, Journalist, My Year of Living Dangerously

********************************************

 Richard Westbrook

REFLECTIONS FROM A ’47 ROADSTER

Posted: April 3, 2018 by coachwestbrook in Daily Runs & Reflections, Uncategorized
APRIL 2, 2018 (MONDAY)

Today, I was running on the Silver Comet Trail starting at mile “0” in Smyrna.  Unlike the weekend, the SCT was sparse with people. So for me, that made my run that much better.  I like running alone.  That’s probably because I’m too slow to keep up with other runners…which would put me in solitude anyway.  So, I might as well like it.

A full promise of spring was evident on the trail with blooms and green bursting out all over.  Birds were evident represented by a lot of cardinals and sparrows.  A lone hawk flew about six feet over my head and across the trail to perch high on a tree and, I’m sure, was looking for prey.

My run was enjoyable on the multi-use trail which is one of my favorite sites at which to run.  I ran steadily with a goal of 12 miles but felt so good that I extended it to 15 miles.  There were a lot more cyclists than runners on the trail, but even with that, they were few and far between.

My only problem was that the water fountains at the start and at the 4.2 mile point were not working.  But, it was a small problem and didn’t change my run in any way.  Slow is slow any way you look at it.

It was the first day this year that I ran in a singlet.  The sun felt good and not hot on my skin.  Everything (except water fountains) worked out well to make it a memorable day of running at a great site for running. 

READY FOR THE “HOT PURSUIT GLOW RUN 1 MILE” IN GADSDEN, ALABAMA

BRAYLEE (AKA “RAINBOW”) IN THE LAST HALF OF THE RACE.

KICKING IN TO THE FINISH LEAVING MOM BEHIND…that’s me in the orange shirt…way behind.

THE MEDAL.

MOM AND DAUGHTER AFTER THE RACE.

FACE PAINTED AFTER THE RACE

 

DITTO.

RAINBOW ‘N ME AFTER THE RACE.

 

LAVS 2017

The LAST ANNUAL VOL-STATE ROAD RACE.  Every year I get emails stating that the writer was going to run this but was sad to hear that this version was the last one.  They just don’t know.  It is the last one until the next one is run.  It all comes from the convolutions in the brain of Lazarus Lake, the race director.  I tell them that if they want to run the LAVS, think long and hard about it…because, the race is long and hard.

This was my fifth finish of this, my favorite race.  This is on the present course.  I had some finishes on previous courses which are not counted in the mix.  I had a dreaded DNF (did not finish) two years ago because of severe pain in my lower back that worsened even after breaks and walking gingerly.  I stopped in order to run again another day.  That was very late in the race which increased the mental anguish melded with the physical pain.

For me, this 2017 race was plagued from the outset shortly after coming off the ferry in Hickman, KY.  I was planning to run by “feel” through the hilly town and then settle into run-walk pattern to, hopefully, carry me through the heat.  My best time in this race is 5d:23:49:59 (5 days, 23 hours, 49 minutes, and 59 seconds).  This year’s time of 8d:00:44:24 of was not in that neighborhood, but it did improve upon last year’s time which I did not think would happen.  I ran more last year, albeit on blistered feet in the last half of the distance.  Oh well, the best laid plans…stepping off the ferry and all that leads to ?????

This thing is tough enough without having trouble pop up so early in the race.  But, that’s what happened.  I quickly changed goals of improving on last year’s blistered run (that’s “with” blisters, not a blistered pace) to staying ahead of Oprah.  Singer Toby Keith and his, “I’m not as good as I once was…” kept bouncing around in my head as I tried to run out a tight and painful hamstring.  It didn’t happen.

Still, I enjoyed the race…and, I had a lot of time for that enjoyment.  I got to the point that I could only run five steps and then walk five steps.  I just had to adapt.  Overall, I walked more than I ran.  For the past two years, problems have arisen that I worked to solve afterwards in order to do better in the next one.  Now, that is for three years and back to the drawing board. But, there’s always next year.

Being one who thrives on solitary running, I had pleasant experiences with other runners in the race.  We talked, suffered, complained, joked, encouraged, helped, hurt, and generally just had the normal Vol-State experience.  I fondly keep these moments on the road in my mind.  They involve BJ Timoner, a man of many facets and a treasured companion…until he left me behind.  Also, there were Sherry Meador who talks her way to the Rock, and Ed Masuoka, Ken Chappell, Johnny Adams, Chris Valenti, Dallas Smith, Cherie McCafferty, Byron Backer, Tait Robinson, Tasha Holland, Noah Moore, Shenoa Creer, Harold Donnelly, Olivia Coker and others whom I do not know their name or (as happens) I’ve forgotten their names through the stress of the road.  For that, I apologize.  Some of these runners were outgoing, some very taciturn in nature.  But, all were bright spots in my mind as we all shared in the adventure, and I thank you all for that.

But, through all the miles, I missed Charley.  I had good memories of Charley and I running easily at the same pace and sharing rest stops…and guzzling down chocolate milk; and shaking a drink machine that took our money in the middle of the night; and hanging on until we got to a store that we hoped would be open.  I passed places in this race that Charley and I shared, and Charley was there.  His spirit pervades.  His enthusiasm and jovial outlook helped me endure.

Thank you, Charley Taylor.  You will always be there.

In a broad scope, this report will not finish with my details of my daily trial and tribulations.  It will finish with a generalization of the race and some observations.  And, that will be it.  This will not satisfy some who thrive on in-depth reports and will delight those who don’t.  And, for those who don’t care to read it, it won’t matter.

I have a sense of adventure, so I run the LAVS for that reason but not that reason alone.  I run to compete even though that hasn’t been evident in the last few races.  I run to see a UFO in the night sky (or day sky even) but that has yet to happen.  I run for the comradery of like-minded individuals and to see friends whom I only see at this race.  I run at the speed of human endurance to see the countryside of the USA of which I am enamored by its beauty and grandeur.     

I started with my 6.2 pound pack carrying all that I thought I would need.  This pack was two pounds lighter than the last few years.  Even with this, I found that I had some stuff that I would not pack next year.  Getting lighter and lighter but running slower…something’s wrong here.  Am I getting older?

The night running is special in the LAVS.  I look forward to it.  I am invisible out there running beneath the stars on the open road.  I carry a headlamp but only use it when channeled into a narrow trek with oncoming vehicles.  I feel that I am safer if I am invisible in the darkness.  By the time a thug decides to hassle me, he has already passed me since he couldn’t see a light in the distance.

At times when using a headlamp because of the complete darkness from the lack of moonlight, it seems I am running in a world that is only open to the light ahead of me.  And, it immediately closes up in the darkness behind me.  There is a world on either side of me but is only detected by sound.  My footsteps, my light, the sounds, the road is the only world existing for me during the run in the dark.

I like the beginning roads into Union City, TN with its rural variety.  From Union City to Martin is comfortable and scenic, and running through Martin, a college town, is pleasing…as is Martin to Dresden.  Dresden is a picturesque town with its puzzle-like route through it.  It has improved with the farmer’s market aid station on the way out of town. 

Dresden to Gleason is one of my favorite stretches.  I’m usually there in the dark and have a frog concert entertaining me as I run through the low, wet areas.  The night sky is usually ripe for a UFO, but I’ve been out of luck so far.  But, Gleason has one of the best (if not the best) aid station set up at the fire station.  They do everything to please the runner and make it a memorable stop.

Gleason to McKenzie is so-so, just a vanilla stretch to get to the next town.  That sets up the open range going into Huntington.  Divided highway, SR 22, no shade, rolling hills, nothing to write home about.  Huntington is the reward at the end of the rainbow.  Places to eat, places to stop and take a short rest, a place to get mentally ready to head for the I-40.

I’m always glad to get that part of SR 22 done and arrive in Clarksburg even though it seems like I can never gain on that freakin’ tower as I approach the small town.  A store for refreshment and then on the way to Parker’s Crossroads.  That means McDonald’s and a place to cool-off.  Crossing I-40 puts footsteps on the way to Lexington for the big left turn.  I find this part deceptive as to when I’m approaching the town.  That seemingly endless sidewalk eventually gets this tired runner into town.  I have slept here at times when going through at night.  Atop a staircase behind a building makes a good hide-a-way for a snooze, and there’s a store close by.

I like passing through the large town of Lexington to get on the road to Parsons.  I’m usually refreshed for this scenic trek to make it enjoyable.  I aim for Parsons and the Sonic so I can fill by gut with a milkshake. 

There are parts of the route that I do not like.   The worst is the stretch from Parsons to the Tennessee River.  I hate it and am glad to get it behind me.  I usually hit it in the heat, and the hills and lack of a road shoulder to run on makes it a little piece of hell.  Slightly better is the segment from the Tennessee River into Linden though there are parts of that road than gleam.  From Linden on is good stuff.

Hohenwald pops up after Linden and is one of my favorite towns on the course.  There is a motel if needed (I don’t use them) and places to eat.  A Walmart going out of town is handy for supplies if needed. 

After Hohenwald is Hampshire, a unique little village with a deli for food.  It is looked forward to by most runners.  I took a nap on the post office floor which was already occupied by Bryan Backer and Solane Machado.  Then, it is on to a biggy…Columbia.  In my mind, things are getting good (as well as it could) once into Columbia.  I get my tacos, drink, rest if needed.  The course gets a little easier going out of town. 

Passing through Columbia, the route collects various towns such as Glendale, Culleoka, Mooresville, and then Lewisburg, another biggy.  I could get food and drink in Lewisburg that I would need for the upcoming distance through Farmington, Wheel, Bedford, and into Shelbyville.  I was struggling trying to stay ahead of Oprah, trying to survive.  I was reminded of a remark stated by a European in my race across the U.S. in 1992, “There are no winners, only survivors.”

Shelbyville, Wartrace, Manchester…trying to get them behind me.  Slowly but surely.  Nothing great.  But, still moving.  Relentless forward motion.

One of my favorite stretches of road is from Manchester to Monteagle.  The towns of Hillsboro and Pelham sit in a beautiful valley of farmland.  It is a treat to run on U.S. 41 through this valley and then up to Monteagle on Monteagle Mountain.  This is the beautiful U.S.A in its glory and grandeur.

Like a slow moving phantom, I run-walk through Tracy City and White City, headed for Jasper.  But, there is a mean downhill coming off of Monteagle Mountain.  I was stopped by police on my way down.  They said it was reported that I was in obvious physical distress and needed help.  I convinced them that I was OK and was not in danger.  But, it was good to know that there are concerned people out there willing to offer help.  I looked forward to the aid station at Steve Smalley’s house, nineteen miles from the finish.  Steve, a fellow member of the Chattanooga Track Club, offers up a good aid station with drink, food, and a place to nap if needed.

Jasper and then on to Kimball and South Pittsburg and New Hope gives the runner the aroma of the finish line.  The blue bridge across the Tennessee River (the second time) has been an area of severe and very realistic hallucinations for me.  I was talking to people that were not there.  This year was no different.  I passed through New Hope with the hallucinations behind me.  I zoned out and passed the turn that goes up Sand Mountain, and the next thing I remember, I found myself on my knees with my head in my hands on the ground.  I was on a patch of grass beside the road near a warehouse type building.

I popped up and wasn’t sure which way to go.  I had to flag down a car in the dark to ask in which direction was road 377.  How long I was on the ground in the zone, I did not know.  But, I found 377 and headed up and finally onto Castle Rock Road and onto the trails to the Rock.  The uneven terrain of the trails caused more pain in my leg and in the uprising sore area in my foot.  But, I would finish ahead of Oprah!  Whew!

The run was largely uneventful for me, but I was drawn to the route, the landscape, the runners, the goal of 314 miles, the achievement.  Comradery with Laz, Bill, Mike, and Sandra at the finish is always a welcomed treat…mainly, because it is over.

********************************

“The real opponents at the Vol-State are not the other runners. They are heat, hills, humidity, blisters, cramps, fatigue, hunger, thirst, sleep deprivation, and incredibly sore feet.”

                                                                           Lazarus Lake, 2014, Vol-State Race Director

********************************

Richard Westbrook

JANUARY 1, 2017 (SUNDAY)

Well, here we go again.  I’m running through the neighborhood in the rain and cold and thinking about the brand New Year, 2017.  We all know that New Year’s Resolutions abound at this time, and I fit right in with that.  That is, when I’m not thinking how much I don’t like this cold rain during my run…but, what can ya do?

Resolutions grind their way into my brain as I run, putting my thoughts of cold and rain somewhere else.  I try to think back to thoughts earlier in the year in which runs or races told me facets in which I needed improvement.  So, here I go with the resolutions for 2017.  I’m documenting them here so I can be held accountable.

#1.  Improve my diet to insure that I will ingest healthy food for fuel to insure energy for the run and nutrients for recovery.

#2.  Include a muscular strength program at least three day per week.

#3.  Do flexibility work after each run or, at least, at the end of each day.

#4.  Consistently, be attentive to my bio-mechanics during each run.

#5.  Drink more water.

#6.  Include speed work on a weekly basis.

#7.  Plan ahead with my runs and races.

That seems to be all that I can remember as I ran about what I needed to do to improve my running.  I haven’t been too good in the past with resolutions.  Hopefully, this year will be better.

As I neared the finish of my 11+ miles today, I began to have second thoughts about this stuff.  I decided that I needed to simplify this plan.  So, in my last mile, I had an epiphany, a manifestation of the reality of resolutions.  I made a change before I reached my home front finish.

I gladly finished,being cold and wet, with the satisfaction of simplifying my 2017 RESOLUTIONS to:  #1.  Run every damn day!

Simple, huh?

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Extraordinary Streak

Posted: December 30, 2016 by smrtnsasy in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,
20161229_222318

Finishing a 43 year old streak with daughter and granddaughter

Richard Westbrook finishes a 43 year strong running streak, on December 29, 2016. Accompanying him through the finish is his daughter, Season Westbrook, along with her daughter (and Richard’s sidekick), Braylee, AKA Rainbow.

Westbrook currently holds 6th in the nation of longest running streaks. Approximately 708 runners have active registered streaks.

20161230_224711

 

LAVS 2016 – FINISH

Posted: July 23, 2016 by smrtnsasy in Race Reports, Uncategorized

WESTBROOK HAS FINISHED BEFORE HIS NEXT CHECK-IN. MORE TO FOLLOW…