Posts Tagged ‘running’

LAVS 2016 - DAY 8 AND 1/2 UPDATE

LAVS 2016 – DAY 8 AND 1/2 UPDATE

Not exactly sure where Westbrook is at the moment, except that he is not far from the finish. He is either 10 miles out or 5 miles out. I think he may be hallucinating and not very clear at times where he may be. He has to go up Sand Mountain at the end with a foot mangled with blisters. We are heading out to the finish to find him now, if we can.

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Westbrook is coming into a nice breeze and downhill for the next three miles, currently at mile 288. You would think this sounds nice. The breeze yes, but downhill no. His blistered foot will slide around in his shoe while going downhill only to create more friction. Not to forget that downhill is harder on one’s knees and muscles if your are very exhausted and sore. All in all, the downhill will probably be painful rather than a relief. He remains 29th out of 43 screwed runners with 26 miles ahead of him.

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I have to apologize for the delayed posting. I was having difficulties with my iPad not showing the current update this morning and had to wait until I had access to a laptop. So, here it is.

Westbrook’s entire right foot is almost completely blistered. He runs a bit, screams, and walks on. Ughhh. I feel for him. A blistered, tender, sore foot and this heat makes for an extremely miserable time. Not to mention having to run up Sand Mountain at the very end. What a way to end a lengthy, hellacious road race.

Having 266 miles behind him and approaching Pelham, Westbrook has 48 miles remaining. He is holding 29th out of 43 runners. Way to go! Hang in there. Not too much further.


Start of the Locomotion 12 Hour Race

Westbrook was one of 18 runners to start the 12 hour leg of the Locomotion 6 and 12 hour race consisting of 2 mile loops around Camp Jordan in East Ridge, Tennessee. The race started a little late at 7:33 am.


Westbrook at mile 26, Locomotion 12 Hour Race

Richard worked himself into 3rd place and held that until the finish. He completed 56 miles in a little under 12 hours. His goal was 50 miles so he exceeded his expectations after coming off of low mileage days with a hurt foot. One 20 miler was the furthest he ran in training prior to this race day. At first, he hoped to complete 30 miles, then 40, and onto 50. He ran ahead of pace on the warm and sunny day, albeit crazy headwinds on the starting side of the loop.


Westbrook finishing 3rd in the Locomotion 12 Hour Race


Richard Westbrook and his medal for the Locomotion 12 Hour Race


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Posted: January 18, 2014 by smrtnsasy in Articles
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Numerous studies and research have shown that there is more to running distance than the obvious “one foot in front of the other.” All of us that run distance know this without having the experts in white lab coats informing us. We find out in the real “lab,” the outdoors where our running takes place. Our experience in our running educates us to what is really happening.

The stuff that is really happening is varied. Even in it’s variety, there seems to run a commonality that bonds the runners. And, this doesn’t depend on how fast the runner is, or what level the runners practice his or her craft, or even how long the runners have been running. The running itself is the sticky stuff binding all this together.

Probably the most obvious thing that happens to runners is the feeling of accomplishment derived from sticking to your running plan or from running on that day that you would really like to just “can” it. But, you do it and feel better for it. This is a feeling of success reflected in self-discipline. If we are serious about our running , we have all felt this.

The aspect of self-discipline leads to a more physical feeling of relaxation leading to the mental “feel good” level during or after a run. Commonly known as the “runner’s high,” it has its basis in biology. We know the brain will increase the endorphins in the blood during a relaxing (or not too demanding) run. The afterglow is a direct result of the endorphins.

The act of running continuously can increase the level of serotonin in the brain. This is the reason aerobic running has been used in the treatment of depression. Depressed patients have found remarkable improvement through running aerobically. Some have improved dramatically while reducing the amount of anti-depressant medication.

Go for a run, and your self-esteem will improve…if it needs to improve. You may be grossly overweight, slow, painfully aware of how you look in running attire, and having to work at a death defying intensity just to jog one-hundred yards, and yet, the act of completing that one-hundred yards will elevate your self-esteem. Run more, self-esteem will get higher. The actual proven reasons for this are unclear, but no matter. We runners know it works, and that’s the important part.

Running in our modern society may have taken place of the predominance of physical labor prevalent in our society in earlier years. Before mechanization and technology had put manual labor in the minority of activity, the number of U.S. citizens suffering from depression, lack of self-esteem, lack of confidence, the absence of a sense of self, and a feeling of a day spent well leading to relaxation was in itself a minority. Now, we are bombarded by advertisements for products that will solve those problems. All you have to do is buy and take the cure-all medication, and you will be a happy citizen…if you can get by all the side-effects.

Running gets us around all that. It is our manual labor. It is our exertion that brings together the brain, the heart, the adrenaline, the endorphins, the mysterious actions of self-esteem, the musculature used in locomotion, the DNA of our evolution…everything that makes the runner a relaxed and aware individual in our society. The running makes us a good animal.

The good animal is one of clear-headedness , one of creativity, one of simplicity. The runner seems to be able to see the true meaning of anything. Just as running itself culls out the gloss in activity, sport, work, and recreation, the runner uses this developed talent in other aspects of life. Therefore, life becomes one of clarity and simplicity in which creativity can prosper. This may explain why one can feel creative during a run while sitting tends to stalement that act.

This biological wonder we call a runner is an evolutionary animal that is aware of his or her surroundings both immediate and distant, past and present and future. This awareness is heightened during a good run, and this reinforces this runner-animal in his environment while not running. It makes the runner better at work, play, and daily life.

This awareness is connected to the real physical changes that happen in the brain and body during the run or immediately afterwards. During the run, the runner will notice things previously unnoticed, hear things heretofore unheard, sense things that have been oblivious up to now. All animal senses will have been sharpened. Eventually, this running animal can carry all this into the normal “civilized” life.

The runner will then be a better person in that life. All will be good.


“As we run, we become.”

Amby Burfoot,

The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life


By: Richard Westbrook

BOOK: RUNNING THROUGH THE WALL: Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon                          AUTHOR: Neal Jamison                                                                                                                        PUBLISHER/DATE: Breakaway Books, 2003                                                                                    REPORT: This is one of the most personalized and entertaining books that I have read on the subject of running long. Obviously, from the title, it focuses on ultramarathon distances. That would be any distance longer than the marathon. The first standard ultra distance is 50 kilometers, which is thirty-one miles. For that reason, a lot of the personal stories in the collection will give credence to the 50 kilometer distance.

This book is very good in that it gives personal stories from the normal “Joe” or “Jane” just like you and me who happens to run ultramarathons. The stories center on various slants in the runner’s pursuit ranging from their beginnings, outstanding races, spiritual insights, and their motivation. You will find runners who stumbled into running ultras. Then, there are those who planned their assault on the distances. Like the rest of us, there are those who had a lack of confidence when faced with such monumental distances. Just about all the stories related instances during a particular race in which the runner was convinced that he or she could not make it to the finish line. Some of these instances were true life threatening situations and some were of the “feeling sorry for myself” types. They were all just like those thoughts that the rest of us go through during the same kind of running challenges. Indeed, one of the most striking characteristics of this book is the normalcy of the runners of whom the stories relate.

On the other hand, there are some “supers” involved. For those accounts of the diabetic in his first 100 mile run crewed by his sons and struggling to the race site with a broken down van; or the suicide survivor, depression laden, young lady who didn’t leave her house for months and then went through the gamut of highs and lows in her first ultra but finished on a high, there are the stories from ultra superstars like Tim Twietmeyer, Ian Torrence, Ann Trason, and David Horton. Even in the “super’s” accounts, we can relate to the normalcy that earmarks the ultrarunning scene.

Reading story after story, the reader will begin to appreciate the closeness of the ultra community. Such things like runners slowing to help total strangers get through bad patches in the race, because they have been there before, will stand out again and again as an oddity in the ultra races. The attitude expressed by the runners in their stories will impress even the non-runner much less the runner just thinking about running an ultra event.

Running Through the Wall

The reader will read some of the stories and laugh because you will see yourself in there. Other stories will have you pulling for the runner as you turn to see the outcome. Still others will have you emotionally charged by relating to the intensity of the story and the runner involved. This makes the book interesting to read and packed full of memorable characters. It is well written and easy to read.

Each chapter is a runner’s story. It is preceded by a thumbnail sketch of the runner. This includes their name, age, years running, years running ultras, and their residence. I appreciated the picture of each runner. This gives the reader a visual contact as you are reading the runner’s story. For me, it made each story much more personal, a story with a face.

Don Allison, editor and publisher of UltraRunning Magazine, writes a very good foreword for the book. This gives a good opening door to the stories. It sets the stage for a good piece of work by the author, Neal Jamison.

I highly recommend this book to any runner aspiring to run marathons, ultra races, experience adventure runs, or just looking to improve their running by running longer on their level. It will give you fodder for dreams as well as confidence enveloped in normalcy. You will be glad you read it.

“Behind every runner, there is a history that leads them to the starting line of an ultramarathon, and that history colors the drama that plays out over the duration of the event.”                                      Don Allison                                                                                                                                            Editor/Publisher                                                                                                                                             UltraRunning Magazine

By: Richard Westbrook

I remember in elementary school seeing maps of our country as it was being discovered and settled. Of course, it looked a lot different than it does now. What surprised me then and made me think was that the map related some eastern states or colonies as they do now, but with one dramatic difference, that being they extended to the Pacific Ocean. There it was, Georgia, stretching all the way west. What was now Alabama, Mississippi, Northern Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or Southern California was then Georgia. Well, the map changed greatly with exploration, settlements, and people identifying with their regions. The result is that we have Georgia as it is today.

I’m glad that happened. That’s because I have a quest to run across each county in Georgia before I die. Right now there are 159 counties. That’s a lot. Just think if we reached to the Pacific. I run across a county when my schedule, training, and availability of some help allow me to do so. Right now, I have completed fifty-two counties. That leaves one hundred and seven to go. Whew!

Another thing is the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix road races. I love to drive to various regions of the state to run a race there. The race is the obvious purpose, but the drive to get there is another purpose for going. Even better is the drive home after the race. I don’t have to arrive for a race start at a certain time, so I take a scenic drive home on back roads. It may take me longer to get home, but the scenery is usually worth the extra miles. I only wish my schedule would allow me to do more of this.

Geographically, our state is one of great variety. Locked away in my memory are scenes I’ve envisioned on a run. They are special visions and experiences that add to my running. I’m enthralled when I experience the visions and the feeling associated with them during the run. Afterwards, I have it forever in my mind and can bring back that memory anytime.

From Trion, my hometown, running hours before sunrise through Summerville and Menlo, then up the mountain to Mentone, Alabama, gave me visions of a clear, moonlit sky. As the run progressed, the morning sun cast shadows on the valley below as I ran up the mountain toward Alabama. I could see a valley of green with patches of farms, towns, and ribbons of asphalt winding about the valley floor. The morning mist was being burned away by the sun, and the shadows disappearing. By the time I reached the top, the valley was panoramically displayed below. It was a beautiful sight. an old, sweet song

…like an old, sweet song

Ocean breezes in my face on Cumberland Island made those runs special. There is a limit of people they let on the island at one time. This makes running there seem like I am the only one there, especially early in the morning. I seldom see other people as I greet the sun on the beach and then head inland to the trails. I have seen the horses running and I have seen them feeding. Huge gators float in some of the ponds, just hoping for an easy meal…and I keep moving. The running is softer than that of north or middle Georgia, being on sandy soil surfaces, and many miles can be run with less stress on the legs than my normal running.

The long corridor of the Silver Comet Trail is a favorite running site for me. It is a multi-use trail, meaning it is paved. So, it is not a trail in the truest sense. But, for me, it will do. Running there is convenient. I don’t have to worry about traffic. I don’t have to keep constant watch for rocks, roots, or bears. The narrow corridor offers a good running site, and is long enough to lay down some miles. It extends east to west or visa-versa.  It follows an old railroad bed, and this provides good scenery for the run.

The roads from my house to the square in Newnan provide me with one of my favorite runs. I pass through Union City, Fairburn, and Palmetto on the way. The road provides me with a long, straight route through some sparsely populated areas. I run by fields, forests, residential areas, a small airport that looks abandoned, and a railroad on which I always hope to see the train roll by me. The openness and variety of the route make this part of Georgia one through which I always look forward to run. It makes my long run a lot more enjoyable.

These are just four pieces of our state that are among my favorites to run. There are many more out there for me to discover and enjoy. My running like this is a celebration of the beauty of our state and country. The landscape and the people make it what it is. America the beautiful. Georgia…like an old sweet song.


“We do not own land. But, we become part of the land when we cross it. A piece of the world becomes part of me when I run across it. And, I become a part of that piece of the world.”                                                                                                                                                                       Louis Tewanima


By: Richard Westbrook