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Mount Hood 50

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Post  Mark B on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:40 pm

@charles.moman wrote:Not enough details. I need to talk to you in person to really understand. Oh wait! I WILL see you next month. Great report. You should look into writing as a career choice.

Lol! Thanks, Charles. And see you next month!
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Post  Mark B on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:41 pm

@Jerry wrote:Great report and effort, Mark. Congrats on your first 50!

Thank you, Jerry!
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Post  Mark B on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:42 pm

@Ben Z wrote:Congrats on not giving up. I'm proud to call you a friend.

Thanks, Ben. The feeling is mutual. Good luck at White River!
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Post  Mark B on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:43 pm

@nkrichards wrote: Mark...Thanks for the inspiring report.  This has been a very tough week for me and it's not over yet but your report encouraged me to take a deep breath and figure out how I'm going to move forward rather than deciding to throw in the towel.  We've got a few more busy days on the farm plus some health issues that I need to help my parents deal with.  I need to take care of those issues and then I'll figure out how to get my training back on track. 

I guess everyone needs a Western States guy in their life every once in a while.

Thanks...Nancy

Thanks, Nancy! And yes, a Western States guy can come in very handy, at the right time. Smile
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Post  Mark B on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:45 pm

@mul21 wrote:I've read this several times now, trying to come up with a way to say what I want to as eloquently as your report was written (regardless of the story itself, it's an amazingly well written and engaging piece). 

I guess the easiest way is to just lay it out there.  Sometimes it takes a push from someone outside of your circle who can see something in you and say something to you in a straight to the point manner that makes you come to a realization, whether it be about your mental toughness or capabilities.  I got a lot of that push to realize what I was capable of from high school coaches.  I don't know if you ever had that, but Mr. Western States may have just given you the glare and push you needed to realize what was lurking inside you that gave you the strength to finish.

At any rate, hell of an accomplishment and many congrats!

Well said, Jim! Thanks.

This experience helped me realize more than ever how this is more than an exercise in rugged individualism. Opening yourself to that reality - casting aside that part of the ego - is critical to understanding. I needed a nudge, and wouldn't have proceeded without it. I'm glad Mr. Western States was there to provide it.
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:14 am

@Nick Morris wrote:First off Mark, congratulations on becoming an ultra runner...and a 50 mile ultra runner at that!! 

Second, this was probably the best race report that I have ever read.  It was definitely worth the wait. 

Lastly, I want to commend you for the way that you ran the race.  You had a game plan and followed that plan.  Of course, with it being your first 50 miler, there were things that you weren't expecting.  Those unexpected things caused you to breakdown, but with the help of Mr. Western States, you rose from the bottom.  And with that, you found the strength to make it to the finish.  The guts that it took to continue and finish, when your mind had already given up is just amazing!!  I know that you will take everything that you learned from this and totally rock your next 50 miler Smile

Thanks on all counts, Nick! I'm glad you (and others) enjoyed reading the report. It was a heck of an experience, and I'm still learning things from it.

Here's one: Alita told me that many runners opted for a 1:1 mix of water and the Gu Roctane Energy drink. D'oh! That probably would have been worth a shot. Diluting it may have made it digestible, and even a 50% reduction in calories would have been better than what I ended up doing. (Chalk that one up for next time! Er, uh, I mean.. if there is a next time.)
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Post  Nick Morris on Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:28 am

I have a feeling that there will be a next time Smile
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Post  John Kilpatrick on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:54 am

Mark - thanks so much for that report.  I have zero understanding of running ultras and have my hands full just trying to make 26.2 miles in one piece.  Truly a heartwarming story - I know I run in shadows of doubt all of the time.  I'm going to think about the Western States guy during those times I think.  Shows a lot of character in you to stick it out until the end and thank the person that helped.  Although that is one hell of an accomplishment, it sounds like this race meant a lot more to you at the end than some finishing time attached to it. As a person that gets stuck in chasing numbers (I actually like that) it serves as a good reminder of what running is really all about.  Good job my friend.  Good job.

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Post  Seth Harrison on Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:55 am

Mark, that was one of the best written (no surprise there) craziest, and most inspiring race reports I've ever read. Finishing this race was a monumental triumph. Whether it's a 5k, a marathon, a sprint tri, an Ironman, or anything in between, you've reminded us why we do this stuff. Thank you for the reminder, and thanks for being able to remember your first ultra in such vivid detail. Incredible!!!
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:02 pm

@Nick Morris wrote:I have a feeling that there will be a next time Smile

We'll see, Nick. I'd have to solve a few problems (ankle strength, for one) before tackling something that long again.

Still, for what it's worth, after I finished my 50, my brother-in-law spent the rest of our time together talking up a new 100K ultra near where he lives (Gold Rush 100K). I'm sure he'd be happy to crew for me there, though I think he might just be trying to kill me. Suspect
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:08 pm

@John Kilpatrick wrote:Mark - thanks so much for that report.  I have zero understanding of running ultras and have my hands full just trying to make 26.2 miles in one piece.  Truly a heartwarming story - I know I run in shadows of doubt all of the time.  I'm going to think about the Western States guy during those times I think.  Shows a lot of character in you to stick it out until the end and thank the person that helped.  Although that is one hell of an accomplishment, it sounds like this race meant a lot more to you at the end than some finishing time attached to it. As a person that gets stuck in chasing numbers (I actually like that) it serves as a good reminder of what running is really all about.  Good job my friend.  Good job.

I've read that, as the distances increase, the mental aspect takes a greater role in the experience. I can see that, whether it's simple motivation ("Why in the hell am I doing this to myself?") to something more complicated, like the central governor theory ("Whoa, partner! You've never gone this far, and never felt this level of pain before. Are you SURE you're not injuring me, your body? Maybe I'll just shut you down before that can happen.")

Either way, I see that even the slightest assist -- much like what happens when somebody is being spotted while lifting weights -- can make a huge difference. It sure did for me.
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:12 pm

@Seth Harrison wrote:Mark, that was one of the best written (no surprise there) craziest, and most inspiring race reports I've ever read. Finishing this race was a monumental triumph. Whether it's a 5k, a marathon, a sprint tri, an Ironman, or anything in between, you've reminded us why we do this stuff. Thank you for the reminder, and thanks for being able to remember your first ultra in such vivid detail. Incredible!!!

Thanks, Seth! It didn't really feel like that much of a triumph to finish at the time, but my attitude toward it is changing with time. Whenever I see my race number up on the refrigerator door, I can't help but smile. That must mean something.
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Post  amyjoann on Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:43 pm

Thanks for such a great report! You did awesome, I know exactly how you felt when you had to jump out of the way for the faster people coming down,it gets a little old:shock: .I think my legs started to hurt when you described the climbs. I will say you never did quit, you might have paused for a moment, but you certainley didn't quit. Western states guy is a running angel, let's all try to be him some time. I have to say I'm still pretty scared to attempt 50 I like my little 50K just fine. Trails are so challenging and awesome at the same time. Rest up and hopefully some day we will run a trail together
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Post  Chris M on Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:56 pm

Pretty wild race and report.  Such a good job of describing and relaying what was going on inside of your head and I think we all cheered about how it turned out.  Has going through an experience like that on the trails and at the ultra distance made you want to revisit doing a fast 26.2 on the roads?  As I recall it, you had two sub 4s in 2010 with a PR of 3:46?  Where is your fitness now compared to where it was then?  Do you think that with all the mileage and mental toughness you've built up, you might want to come roaring back at the marathon itself and go for a PR?  Enquiring Minds Want To Know!
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:17 pm

@amyjoann wrote:Thanks for such a great report! You did awesome, I know exactly how you felt when you had to jump out of the way for the faster people coming down,it gets a little old:shock: .I think my legs started to hurt when you described the climbs. I will say you never did quit, you might have paused for a moment, but you certainley didn't quit. Western states guy is a running angel, let's all try to be him some time. I have to say I'm still pretty scared to attempt 50 I like my little 50K just fine. Trails are so challenging and awesome at the same time. Rest up and hopefully some day we will run a trail together
Hey, Amy! Thanks. A trail run together someday sounds like loads of fun. 

I wouldn't be intimidated by 50 miles, if I were you. If you've done 50Ks, you can do 50 miles. It just takes longer. 

"Angel" is a good way to describe Mr. Western States. And you're right: it's in all of our hands to be someone else's angel when they need it most. I hope I can share that gift forward someday.
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:23 pm

@Chris M wrote:Pretty wild race and report.  Such a good job of describing and relaying what was going on inside of your head and I think we all cheered about how it turned out.  Has going through an experience like that on the trails and at the ultra distance made you want to revisit doing a fast 26.2 on the roads?  As I recall it, you had two sub 4s in 2010 with a PR of 3:46?  Where is your fitness now compared to where it was then?  Do you think that with all the mileage and mental toughness you've built up, you might want to come roaring back at the marathon itself and go for a PR?  Enquiring Minds Want To Know!
Hi Chris! Glad you enjoyed the report. 

Your encyclopedic memory of my race times is spot-on, and a little unsettling. Wink

So... a marathon, fast? It's possible, I suppose. I am in the best aerobic shape in my life right now, which is good. But my LT work has been nonexistent for quite a while.

I think it is possible for me to lop some time off my marathon PR if I found the right race (and the $ for the cost of doing it). Time will tell if I have the interest and opportunity.
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Post  ounce on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:31 pm

Yup, a great report.  and as much as Mr Western States helped you out, what about that damn bee?  He spurred you on, then died. clown 

Nice job figuring out the race and a GREAT PR to break.
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:57 pm

@ounce wrote:Yup, a great report, and as much as Mr Western States helped you out, what about that damn bee?  He spurred you on, then died. clown 

Nice job figuring out the race and a GREAT PR to break.

Oh, yes, good point, Ounce.

Yes, let's have a moment of silence for little bee, who gave his all for the cause. Dead 

Thanks! Yes, should I be fool enough to try something like this again, I have nowhere to go but up on the leader board!
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Post  fostever on Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:13 pm

Ok, your report was kinda like your race, You didn't finish! Oh wait you did finish! I think you did, yay you did! Wow, did you run that barefoot? Impressive if you did. Congrats on toughing it out despite the give up demons in your head, awesome!
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Post  Mark B on Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:27 pm

@fostever wrote:
Ok, your report was kinda like your race, You didn't finish! Oh wait you did finish! I think you did, yay you did! Wow, did you run that barefoot? Impressive if you did. Congrats on toughing it out despite the give up demons in your head, awesome!

Barefoot? No, Steven, Definitely not barefoot. The trail had many spots that were barefoot friendly, but that's a long ways to go with no margin for error. If I'd nailed those roots and rocks barefoot, I'd have little bits and pieces where my toe bones are now. 

Thanks for reading! I enjoyed putting it together. I'm glad I managed to keep you in suspense right up to the end. Smile
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Post  ounce on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:45 am

@Mark B wrote:
@ounce wrote:Yup, a great report, and as much as Mr Western States helped you out, what about that damn bee?  He spurred you on, then died. clown 

Nice job figuring out the race and a GREAT PR to break.

Oh, yes, good point, Ounce.

Yes, let's have a moment of silence for little bee, who gave his all for the cause.  Dead 

Thanks! Yes, should I be fool enough to try something like this again, I have nowhere to go but up on the leader board!

 Don't get cocky, now.  I wasn't thinking that you'd be less than DFL, just faster.
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Post  Mark B on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:50 am

@ounce wrote:
@Mark B wrote:
@ounce wrote:Yup, a great report, and as much as Mr Western States helped you out, what about that damn bee?  He spurred you on, then died. clown 

Nice job figuring out the race and a GREAT PR to break.

Oh, yes, good point, Ounce.

Yes, let's have a moment of silence for little bee, who gave his all for the cause.  Dead 

Thanks! Yes, should I be fool enough to try something like this again, I have nowhere to go but up on the leader board!

 Don't get cocky, now.  I wasn't thinking that you'd be less than DFL, just faster.

Oh, er, Well. Okay then. Wink

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Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:26 am

Great job Mark. Way to keep going.  That's what it's all about.  In the future you'll always have that notch on the belt to turn to when facing difficult times on a run or race.  Congrats.
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Post  Glenn on Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:56 am

Wow!  Very impressive.  I was kind of waiting for the shocking twist where Mr. Western States ended up being a hallucination or something.  I guess I'll have to wait for the M. Night Shyamalan movie adaptation.
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Post  Mark B on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:13 pm

@Alex Kubacki wrote:Great job Mark. Way to keep going.  That's what it's all about.  In the future you'll always have that notch on the belt to turn to when facing difficult times on a run or race.  Congrats.

Thanks, Alex! That's a good point. Nothing like going and going and going (and going) while things are hurting like crazy -- yet not actually breaking -- to reset that internal governor. Kind of a rough way to gain perspective, though. But then again, I always did tend to learn the hard way.
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