Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekend Racing

Luckily no NEO Trailers were signed up to run Grindstone this weekend..

Rock N Roll Cleveland Half Marathon

This was an inaugural Rock N Roll Series event for Cleveland.

  Elizabeth Sosan ran a 2.14, and Des Cowie ran a 2.19!  Nice job, ladies!

Oil Creek Ultras

Oil Creek was also this weekend


Allison Holko 9.24
Gail Connor 12.59




Kelli Rushton finished her first 100K in 16.13!!


100 Miles

Jim Harris 22.41

Bob Combs 29.37

Paul Lefelhocz 30.16

Mark Anson 30.29

Those special shorts

Cousin Tim

Coach Hanks

More Slim

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Bear

It looked  like very interesting weather for The Bear 100 race.

The BEAR 100 is a point to point course that starts in Logan, UT and finishes at Fish Haven, ID at Bear Lake. The first climb is the longest, with many more long climbs to follow with varying difficulties of descent. Some descents are smooth downhill while others are rocky. Late September was picked for the time of the run because of the beauty of the fall colors at that time. You will see brilliant red maples and quaking aspens turning yellow which provides for a stunning contrast among the rocks and cliffs.

Bill Losey earned his Black Bear Buckle, finishing in 35 hours, 18 minutes.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Racing Results

24 Hour North Coast

Congrats to Cyrus Taylor and Roy Heger who ran around in a circle for a very long time on September 21 and 22

Cyrus ran 62.15106 miles

Roy ran 76.5629 miles

Akron Marathon

Lots of Neo Trailers out for the 11th annual marathon.

Tara Schweitzer ran in relay with her two sisters.  It was her sister Lisa's first face!

Marjie and Nick Billock ran the 1/2 marathon, finishing in 1.56.02, which was a 6 minute PR for her-Congrats!

Elizabeth Sosan also ran the 1/2 marathon, finishing in 2.08.01


Dan Bellinger took first in his age group, with a 4.16.15

LT completed  his tenth Akron Marathon, leading the 3.40 pace group, finishing in 3.39.41

Dave Peterman and TJ Hawk completed their 11th Akron Marathon

Dave ran 3.15.36
TJ ran 3.39.30

More finishers:

Tim Knapp 4.36.45
Michael Kazar 5.16.42

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Run Rabbit Run

Congratulations to Rich Vrboncic, who finished the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile Race in 34.18!!!

Athlete picture

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another YUTC in the Bag

Another successful YUTC 25K and 50K completed.  Legacy runners Dave Peterman, TJ Hawk, and Ron Ross all completed #9 YUTC. 

Some pics of the day:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Midwest Slam

The inaugural running of the MIDWEST GRAND SLAM OF ULTRARUNNING in 2012 was a tremendous success with 24 runners from 13 different states in the U.S. beginning the quest to complete four of the Midwest's showcase 100 mile trail races over the course of about three months:

Kettle Moraine 100 Mile Endurance Run
Mohican Trail 100 Mile Run
Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run
Hallucination 100 Mile Run

Dave Peterman ran the Hallucination 100 in 20.25, coming in 4th place in the race.

He also placed second in the Midwest Slam, with a total time of 91.20

Dave will be available post YUTC to sign autographs.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Moron athon

Finally an ultra that calls it as it is.. a moron athon.

This was a 24 hour  event in Shanghai.

It was set up as 24 hours for relay runners, but there were 18 runners who elected to go solo.  Congrats to ex-pat Jetfuelburner Mike Keller for completing 50 miles in 11.49.15

At 9am September 7, 2013 the 3rd annual Moron'athon will begin.  The Moron'athon is the first 24 hour ultra marathon relay held in Shanghai.  Teams of 4-6 runners/walkers take turns completing 5k laps over a 24 hour period.  The Moronathon is a non-profit event organized by local runners for the community.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

YUTC this Saturday

Race Director is going crazy trying to stay on top of the details.
Don't miss the party at the Log Cabin in Mill Creek Park.
Everything is coming together, despite the stress.

Looking forward to cool weather and lots of trail.

See you all soon.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ring 2013- Neotrail batting 1.000!

Cam, Slim, Coach, Kimba and The King

        5 Neotrailers made the trek to Virginia for the Ring Labor day weekend. Not bowing to the 50% attrition rate all finished. Cam led the way with Slim battling stomach issues a bit further back. The King started at a crawl and finished at a dead sprint over the last half of the course. Kimba posted another stellar finish and Coach swept the course. Allison came down and did a super job bouncing from aid station to aid station throughout the event. Great time was had by all! Hope to see more Neotrailers down at the Ring next year. Coach's race report tacked on to give an idea of how it went.

Coach Hanks Ring 2013 Report


  Here's my race report from Ring 2013. First some history. Ring 2012 finished with me cramped up and staggering into Edinburgh at mile 48. Here's what I now know. I could have finished but through a combination of being too much of a wimp and a lack of knowledge I quit. Learned a lot this year and here's how it went.

   Neotrail contingent of Allison, Cam, Kimba, King, Slim and Coach spent Friday night at Portabella. Got my prerace briefing from Cam. Went something like this: "Stay behind Kimba" Not exactly "Win one for the Gipper" but whatever works and it seemed to, even if not exactly as planned.

   Fueling plan was Perpetuem supplemented with salt pills and endurolytes and very little solid food. This needs tweaked. More to follow.

    Foot care was pretty much throw a pair of trail shoes in drop bag and throw them on before Kerns. Start in road shoes. No fancy socks, no tape and no lube. Felt guilty watching everyone taping and working on their feet. So how did my plan work. Outstanding! No blisters at all! No out of the ordinary soreness. Blaming blistering at MMT 2012 on shoes and running downhills too hard. No gaiters either. Very happy!

    Chaffing. Nipples figured out long ago with big ass, wide band aids. Early summer has been killing me, especially on the end of my pee-pee. Seen plenty of others wearing compression shorts and bought a pair about a month ago. Put a little Vaseline on before Ring and did nothing else for rest of the day. Absolutely no chaffing. Feel like I hit the lotto.

    On to the run. Stay behind Kimba. That's what I did. Stayed behind for 71 miles and finished. Here's the highs and lows of how it happened.

     Kathleen, the freak of nature from the planet Krypton, ran a double ring with a reverse ring Friday and regular ring Saturday. She wanted to meet Kimba so said hello as she ran by us on an uphill. Unbelievable! Kathleen crushed a double ring!

     Guy in a kilt, with what appeared to be a bagpipe inflating under the front of it, ran into us and was astounded to meet Kimba. Shouted "Hey, you're the girl I see whenever I Google MMT". Think Kimba was tickled and he definitely was.

     Ran in front of Kimba at Duncan hollow. Gnats were so thick that my hand was operating like a windshield wiper. Every pass caught a full handful of nastiness. They were in every exposed body orifice. Hard walking and running to get out of them. Waited for Kimba at the top where they weren't quite as bad but never lost them until Waterfall.

      Waterfall no issue at all. Took our time and just steadily climbed. Hit the switchbacks and had a little cheering section of 20 somethings. That was awesome! Not sure where they came from. Started catching people and at Crisman Hollow there was carnage. One guy was sitting in a chair shivering uncontrollably. 90 degress outside. Yikes!

       Turn for the worse. At Moreland I ate a few bites of a sandwich and my stomach knotted up. To that time I had eaten a popsicle, small triangle of quesadilla and one pierogi. Lots of water and Perp with the salt and endurolytes. I think too much fluids and Perp. From Moreland to Woodstock was miserable. Coming off Short I told Kimba I was going to sit for a while and get my shit together. She was concerned how Slim would take it if she left me and when I told her not to worry she was off. Sat for a while but still felt like crap so got moving. Heard someone coming fast so stepped aside. The King blew by me at 5k pace. By the time I realized who it was he was gone into the darkness. Staggered into Edinburgh feeling like crap and wimpy. Sat in a chair and tried to sleep. Beautiful lady who smelled like heaven chatted me up and offered food and fluids. Even offered to pace me rest of the way. Turned her down because figured I'd be crawling. WTH! Think I'm really slipping. Got offered numerous rides out and aid station thought I was done. I quit there last year and was going to crawl to Woodstock if need be. Shelly and Diane getting ready to leave so I hopped on the back of them. Interesting strategy. When they climbed they would sit and take a break every so often. I was way on board with that strategy. Stayed with them until about 2 miles out of Woodstock where I turned into a staggering, whining mess. Hadn't eaten or drunk anything since Moreland. Washing my mouth out with water every so often, Made up my mind I was quitting and staggered into aid station.

      Allison was at Woodstock. Very cool to see someone I knew. She's too nice to say but I must have looked like hell. Sat in the chair and I was done. Figured Allison would drive me out. She got me a half cup of chicken broth and ice water in my bottles. Drank the broth and sat there felling sorry for myself. Heard that Shelly and Diane were leaving and hopped out, hopped out might be a bit strong, of the chair and headed down the trail. Started using the mantra. "Don't be a pussy, Don't be a pussy" Felt miserable but my mood was better. Halfway to Powell my stomach unknotted and started grumbling. It was awesome. By the time we got to Powell I felt a hundred percent better and was starving. Had some fantastic oatmeal. Chatted with the aid station folks. Met Caroline and she took a picture of this handsome guy. Her words. Think "Hot" may have been in there but not sure. Shelly was suffering so took her a while to get going. Enjoyed the fire and oatmeal and Bur stopped in. We were the caboose of finishers so they could shut down.

   Made the hike up to Signal Knob and the scramble down. It sucks just like everyone except Cam says but it's also the end so not too bad. The girls wanted to hold hands and skip into the parking lot. Held hands but didn't skip. Women. Finished as a threesome and had a great time. Great food at the finish and after suffering and slowing down I was pretty much recovered. Grilled cheese with bacon was out of this world. Got a "71" sticker and cool "Pee'd on the electric fence" pin and invited to reverse ring. Slim thinks that's a given. Fricker is probably right.

Diane, Coach and Shelly on Signal Knob


Friday, August 30, 2013

Ring Tomorrow

Lots of excitement tomorrow as several NEO Trailers are heading to VA to run the VHTRC Ring FA.
Cam Baker, Kimba Love*Ottobre, and Jim Harris are all regulars on the Ring Trail.
Todd Hanks will be making a second attempt to get this done so he can move on to the Reverse Ring and potentially MMT next May.
Paul Lefelhocz is also making the effort to get around the Ring to come back in February to get the winter version completed.

More Details Here.

Favorite Ring Pic from 2005.

Advice to all Ring runners this weekend...
Stay on Orange.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Morning at MCP

Shubi was in town for a few days so Coach Hanks and Slim got a URINEO loop in plus an up and down on Rocky Ridge with him.
Always fun to share trail with friends.
Mill Creek was warm, humid, and beautiful as always.
Even had an owl hooting as we started out at sunrise for our Tour de URINEO.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

John DeWalt

Johnny D passed away last weekend, on August 11.

John was a beloved friend of NEO Trail.

Kimba, Bob Combs, John DeWalt YUTC 2009

To say he was an ultra marathon runner would be a complete understatement.  It would be hard to list all of John's running accomplishments.

If you didn't knowJohnny D, it would be hard to try and describe him and his repuatation.
To all that knew John, knew he was "The Man."

A note from Jennifer  Roach about John:

John DeWalt. Here was a wonderful man. Tough as nails. If you asked him a question, he always had a no nonsense, shoot-from-the-hip response. He would give out constructive criticism, whether requested or not. He was sure of himself. He had confidence in his advice, especially in runner  nutrition. I asked him for advice frequently, as we all did. Once, I asked him how to avoid that  spacey" feeling while doing long events like Hardrock . "Essential minerals. Put them in your water," he replied. I took the sage advice and it worked.

Remember John's 2009 Hardrock finish?As he approached the Rock, John was listing to one side and exhausted, but he never gave up or gave in. He just kept pushing. I also had the good fortune to finish Hardrock in 2009 and you don't see me cheering him on at that finish line because I was still BEHIND John and still coming in, pushing hard. I was able to get there because John taught me how to do it. I never gave up or give in. This advice will hold true for any runner who approaches that big Rock. To get there takes some real grit. That's the kind of stuff John DeWalt was made of and known for by everyone at Hardrock.

Hardrock won't be the same. We just lost a key player: John DeWalt. He was grass roots and the finest Old Guard runner I have ever known.

God Bless John DeWalt.

Jennifer Roach

John finishing Hardrock in 2009 at age 73 his 14th HR finish

Rich Limacher has just featured John in his "Most Interesting Man of the World" as posted below.

The Troubadour

[At this sad time, we are nevertheless going to try and keep this particular Wednesday positive.  And my thanks to Allan Holtz for "nominating" today's hero--before any of us heard the news--but now that we've all heard it, I just know I would be honoring him anyway.  How could I not?
  My old buddy, hero, champion, and friend to us all, John DeWalt, passed away just this past Sunday.  He shall dearly be missed… by countless numbers of runners, ultrarunners, and good people everywhere who love legends.  I myself had known John--affectionately dubbed "Johnny D"--for many years.  My memories all flash at once. 
 For example, during those Barkley years when Frozen Head State Park would not hold camping reservations in advance, I took it upon myself to get there early in order to "reserve" (i.e., pay for on-site) the necessary campsites so that the race could proceed normally several days later.  Invariably, John DeWalt's large white truck-like van would already be there in Site #7 (next to the bathhouse) but, of course, he himself wouldn't.  No, he'd be "out there" running, hiking, scouting, practicing… and usually all day long.  When I would finally see him, either he or I would then pay for Site #12 (Barkley "headquarters").  At least one morning I remember waking up in time to be able to join him, and others, in just such a "practice session."  And he killed me dead.  He was, what, around 70 years old (?)--nearly 20 years my senior--and I could NOT keep up with him!!!  So, here's the "advantage" of practice over the actual race:  During practice John would **stop** (sometimes even sit!) to confer over the route-finding, but during the race he'd be GONE!  I'd never see him from after the start until he would get back to the Yellow Gate and (finally!) stop.
Others recently have reminded me of his vegetarianism ("How can you eat your friends?" he'd ask, referring to meat) and his ratty ball cap and his ZILLION Hardrock finishes and his age records at the Barkley and also (great story!) about how he once was arrested inside a restaurant--asking only for water--and jailed and sued and what-not.  Apparently no one--police especially--could believe John was only doing his usual 30-mile long run and had gotten a little dehydrated--tipsy perhaps--and fell over a few things (or spilled things) at the restaurant counter while only trying to replenish enough to continue his run.  Steve Pero reminds us that John spilled what he had all over the fancy electronic cash register, and THAT's when the trouble began….
So today (and in my mind, from now on) we honor John DeWalt as The Most Interesting Man In The World.
His obituary:
(Thanks to Mike Dobies for posting this.)
His running resumé :
(Go ahead and count his Hardrock 100 finishes!)
His Barkley lore is well documented here:
(See 2009 for, I believe, his last running there.)
A whole bunch of his terrific pictures (some moving!):
Here's a video of him grabbing his page at Book 1 of the Barkley for 2009:
(Thanks to Mike Bur for this, and the next two.)
Here he's at the famed Barkley "Yellow Gate":
And here John stands forever among The Giants of Ultrarunning:
(Left to right:  John DeWalt, Dennis Herr, and David Horton.)
Here's an exceptionally inspiring shot of John's never-give-up 2009 Hardrock 100 finish:
(Thanks to Blake Wood for snapping this, and to Jeb Burchenal for pointing it out.)
And this happens to be my own personal fave ('cuz I took it!):
And, of course, he's all over the place in here:
So rest in peace, Johnny D.  May you continue to "practice run" enough--now that it counts--to REALLY find the best route up and over Big Hell.]

The only thing older on Earth than the cap he wore forever on his head is Earth.

At a world-famous "impossible" footrace known for its "digitally-prepared" BBQ chicken, he refused to eat it.  Hence, he ran it better than everyone else for decades!

He once ran 30 miles one way in unbearable heat just for a glass of water.  He took a sip, then spilled it.  Then he ran all the way back.  It was all he needed.

During his racing career, he collected more "hardware" than Ace.

He won his first age-group trophy just after the Garden of Eden went into foreclosure.  He beat Adam in a men's race with Cain and Able.

He has out-run more than twice the athletes half his age more than three times the times that less than a quarter of them could keep up.

He used to "kick it" so well, so often, and so hard at Hardrock in Colorado that the mountains themselves would to beg him to go barefoot.

He could live for months on vitamins alone, and often run just as long without them--or sleep.

There never was a nicer guy.  George Bush the First got that "kinder, gentler" idea from him.

It's been said of his life that he was the first to show up, the last to leave, and the only participant ever to do the whole thing twice.


"I don't always run forever and eat only health food; but when I do, I predict it'll be in the next life.  Stay focused on the goal, my friends."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Burning River

Congratulations to the NEO Trailers who finished the Burning River 100 Mile Race:

Dave Peterman 26.55

Paul The King Lefelhocz 28.50

Michael Kazar 29.07

Nice work!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Buckeye Trail 50K

LT last BT50K was 2006. Trails are a bit wider now.

Dave Peterman 5.12
Lloyd Thomas 5.12
Heidi Finiff 6.31
TJ Hawk 6.36
Tim Simenc 6.51
Nick Billock 7.51
Mark Anson 7.58
Michael Kazar 8.33
Joe Novicky 8.45  Tenth BT 50K

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monkey See Monkey Do

We have another Hot Monkey Hills Marathon finisher.
On Sunday the 14th, the originator of the idea for the Hot MHM got his laps to become just the 3rd finisher
of this NEO Trail Challenge.
Todd finished in a time of 9:17.

Coach Hanks always honest race report: Quick recap on yesterday’s Hot Monkey. Started a few minutes after sunrise. It was hot, never even checked what the high was but know it was over 80. Saw 2 bucks, a doe and 3 fawns and they stayed in the area throughout the day. 3 fawns still around during lap 29. Creeper old dude wearing cammo that was stalking me. He kept walking around the section to the road and would be hiding in the trees or sitting on logs. Scared the poop out of me a couple times. Ran 1st and 11th lap naked for a little twist. Maybe he saw me. Smooth sailing through 20+. Slim and the boys showed up at 21 with a Mt. Dew frozen which was awesome. Got tough from 22 on. Slim and the boys hung on a picnic table and watched the disaster unfold. Think they left around 27. Cousin Tim unexpectedly showed up during lap 28 and kept me company on 29. Started in a puddle of sweat and finished in a puddle of drool. Plan was to run 29 naked but Tim was there and wasn’t a whole lot of running at that point so seemed pointless. Not sure how many others will join in on this stupid event. Glad it’s over.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hardrock Finish

Congratulations to Bob Combs on another Hardrock Finish!  Bob finished in 43.19!!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Laker 5K - Dan Dunlap Memorial

Several NEO Trailers headed north to Pymatuning Lake for the Dan Dunlap Memorial 5K.

Kimba, Slim, and Baby Hanks were on hand to represent and get a little asphalt pounding in.

Matt not only won his age group, but was first Master as well.
Kimba manned up and won her age group, while Slim was the slacker and only managed 2nd place in his age group.
Complete Results are here.

Awesome shirts for the event.

It was very nice to chat with Dan's twin brother Tom.
This is a nice little country event, raced on limited traffic roads in the campgrounds on the western shore of the lake.
Pizza, watermelon, bananas, orange slices, and a random drawing with lots of giveaways after the run.
This 5K has all you could ask for in an event, even a giant walleye in the parking lot.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hardrock 2013

Hardrock started this morning.
Live updates are here.

Bob Combs is enjoying the thin Mountain Air.

Lots of others that the NEO Trail staff know out there running;
Kimba's Coach, Brad Koenig, Kevin Martin, Steve & Deb Pero...

Wish we were there.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Going on Guts: Ultrarunner Gale Connor Mohican Race Report

Going on Guts
Mohican 50 Mile Race Report
(Ultrarunner) Gale A. Connor

When I signed up for this race, many months ago, I never dreamed that I would be undergoing radiation treatments for a recurrence of breast cancer come race day. A few weeks prior, I had gotten permission from the race director to have a pacer. I was nervous about the side effects of the radiation and not sure how it would affect me during the race. I had gone up to Oil Creek for a training run a couple of weeks before the race and started having dizzy spells on the trail. I was alone and it was very frightening.  A couple of younger runners came by and observed me sitting on a rock, not looking very well. They walked the almost five miles back to the trailhead with me and I became fast friends with the Mark and his awesome dog, Rocky.

I had all but stopped training due to the demands that the radiation was putting on my time and body. At this point I didn’t even know if I could do the distance. I knew that we had power hiked most of the race the year before, so I was counting on that to get me through. Five days before the race, I got word that my pacers (husband and wife) couldn’t make it. You see, she has bone cancer herself and was having issues; Her husband had to go out of town for work. I posted on Facebook that I needed a pacer, desperately. Mark, my Oil Creek rescuer, didn’t hesitate. He said that he was my man. Now, mind you, he does like 7 minute miles, so I was worried that he would be bored to death, but happily accepted.

The morning of the race, I was putting on my on my heart rate monitor in the hotel. It is really old and I thought something was wrong with it because it was reading so high. It suddenly occurred to me that maybe that’s why I was having dizzy spells; that my heart rate was artificially raised due to the radiation. I told Mark about it at the start line and he promised that we would keep a close eye on it. As it turned out, there was to be very little running, just to keep it under 140. At first I was able to run a little, downhill, but soon running was out of the question. I was also having issues with food. From the start I just plain didn’t feel like eating. Poor Mark was almost force feeding me the entire race. Afterwards, he said that I either had food in my hand or in my mouth (I was putting it in my cheek) for all but about two miles of the race.

Things were going pretty well even though my heart rate was high and I had no appetite. We just resolved ourselves that this was going to be a controlled power hike. Mark is a newer trail runner and was marveling at the beautiful single tracks that we were on. He also brought along Rocky, the ultra dog. Rocky was having a ball even though he wasn’t running. I was enjoying the distraction and Rocky was doing so well. Mark and I talked about so many things and it was nice to get a different perspective on life, relationships, training – we just talked and talked. Heck, he talks as much as I do, which is pretty hard to do! The time and miles were passing fairly quickly.

Once we got down into the “Enchanted Valley” I started worrying about Rocky getting up the “Root Climb”; a hand over hand climb, straight out of the valley, up a one story tangle of tree roots. I never should have worried, he got up it easier than the two of us. Had I thought about it, I would have recorded it on my phone; it was spectacular!

I got to about mile nineteen and something frightening happened. By this time, some of the faster marathoners were passing us. That was a nice distraction, especially when I knew them. Suddenly, without warning, I turned to the side of the trail and violently projectile vomited, three times.  Now, vomiting while on the trail is nothing new or unusual for any of us, but the volume was. That told me that I wasn’t processing my calories or hydration properly. That was probably why I had no appetite and was struggling just to eat. I also put quite a show on for a group of marathoners coming up behind me. Mark said that he hadn’t seen something that spectacular since “keggers in college”!

I was about 23 or 24 miles into it and I was really starting to suffer. The heat was rising and due to the unseasonably cold spring, it was really beating me up (along with the myriad of other issues). I was also starting to have serious big toenail issues on both feet. I had gotten very quiet and Mark asked what I was thinking. I said “I don’t want to finish”. He decided to try to chat me up to get my mind off of my misery. At one point he said, “you’re not going on training, you’re not going on fuel, you are going on guts”. No truer words had been spoken. Soon we got to the campground and a group of my friend’s had a spot right next to the trail so they could cheer everyone on. I saw my good friend Mark Pancake. He started walking with me, while they fed my pacer a beer and his Rocky some water. Mark Pancake put his arm around me and walked down the trail with me. I rested my head on his shoulder, and with tears nearly welling up in my eyes, I told him that I wanted to quit. He said “nonsense, you will do this”. He sent me on my way and Mark and Rocky caught up to me. I was feeling very dejected, hot, and miserable. Shortly we got on a road section that I knew would take us to the start/finish line. I really wanted to quit, but I didn’t want to, as well. I wanted to show people that someone going through what I was going through, could do this. All of a sudden, I saw my boyfriend, Ed walking our way carrying an ice cold bottle of Gatorade. When he handed it to me, I busted out in tears. I think I scared poor Mark to death.

We got to the mile 27 aid station and I decided I better see the podiatrist. As expected, both toenails were trashed. One had a huge blood blister under one of the nails and just a regular blister under the other.  They had to lance and drain the one with the blood blister. Once bandaged, and the shoe put back on, I could barely walk.  I wanted so badly to quit right then and there, but a fire started burning inside of me. I now knew that I wasn’t going to finish, but I knew that I had to prove to myself that despite all of the issues I was having, that I had the courage to walk out of that aid station and start the next loop. I asked my boyfriend if he was going to be at The Gorge, which was the next aid station, five miles away. He hadn’t been planning on it but I asked him to be there. I don’t know if Mark knew that it was the beginning of the end, but he had stopped hounding me about eating. All I could think about was sitting down, that’s never a good sign.

As we approached the Gorge at mile 32, I could see my good friend, Dan Bellinger, from Cleveland. I was smiling as I cruised in. I loudly announced that I was dropping. I was in very good spirits and didn’t look much like someone who was ready to drop! I really wanted to quit on a high note. My toes were trashed and I knew the upcoming hills would be murder. I also knew that on the back half of the course, it’s harder to drop due to no crew access. I just felt it was time. Not one person tried to talk me into continuing. I took that as a sign as well. Could I have gone further? Yes. Should I? That was questionable. Some may have questioned whether I should have started in the first place.

In retrospect, I’m glad I did this race. It was good to feel “normal”. I believe I did the right things; getting a pacer, using the HRM, having my boyfriend at the aid stations that he was allowed, letting others know what was going on. I’m bummed that I didn’t finish and get that medal, but when I dropped I was still on an 18 hour pace, which would have been a PR of 49 minutes from the previous year! I had fun and I felt like I accomplished an amazing feat!

Only those who risk going too far can possibly know how far they can go. TS Eliot