As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I enjoy challenges. The Maysville to Macon aka M2M50 Ultra was just that. It specialized in "Isolation". We would be challenged by a midnight start that required everyone to be at the shuttle pick up by 830pm. Basically, forcing everyone into sleep deprivation without a chance of sleeping prior to the race. IF that wasn't enough, it would be a bit chilly and with only 13 registered fools, the chance of being alone in your own thoughts were significant. I had been there done that 14 times doing an ultra distance and that meant I had been a marathon or greater distance 26 times before starting this event. The Mason Jar with half asphalt representing HW 58 and half beach sand representing the coast of NC we would attempt was enticing in itself.
The Finisher Award
There's a few things when deprived and denied of that create an irritable cranky Timmy G. Not being able to run or workout is one of them.
This Beer & Burger Joint was just what I needed to relieve the irritability a bit. My wife and I have been sneaking away for more dates in 2019 so we can prevent that typical "roommate" factor that is all too common. This is one of the places we love to hang out.
My wife "Gina" and I are on the quest for the 100 notch club. No fear, at this time we have drank less than 10 different beers so we shall be back!
This particular date was directly after work for me and on a "Comp" day off for her.
I liked both of these but she only liked her choice the Wild Blueberry. I love beer and bourbon so I got the best of both worlds on this pricey drink. I believe it was close to $8 for this bottle. I'm not sure about getting more later but it was delicious and I needed it on the 100 beer quest.
I'm a bit of a nerd. Yes I like these metal art creations! These are located outside Jack Brown's Bar & Grill.
Well this quote would be more significant as I engaged in this event. At some point especially as I've gotten older, I simply can't rely on intestinal fortitude and a strong mind. That large % of a quest being mental is bogus if you haven't trained. In my opinion, the training when you don't want to or have family, kids, and work on your plate is the mental part. Race day you best better believe if you haven't done the mental prep and training, you will be in for a rude awakening.
Brad Gold and I have been running and wrestling friends for over a decade now. We met when I helped coach a wrestling camp. His son was participating in the came and the rest is history. It was a camp at DH Conley HS but led primarily by Todd Cochran the North Pitt HS wrestling coach. I wanted to take a pic here because this pirate artwork had been taken out of the ground and was now leaning on a fence sort of speak. I feared it would be gone one day so this pic was a nerd must.
More cool metal art!
I thought we'd take a pic off our town's green-way here because it was almost like we were in the mountains off a trail or something. I love trails but don't do them as much as I'd like due to distance and time factors.
Another pic with Curt and Brad! This one is off the Green-way by the Tar River. It's great to have these friends who also lift weights with me. Brad has had several American Records. Curt works out with me 1-2x/week. Curt's wife, Lyndsay and their kiddos all hang out with us socially. My wife and his wife also work together as therapists on the trauma unit.
Off the Green-way near Greenville's Town Commons
Many of my friends are workout lovers too so this isn't a big issue but I do have many friends who think we are nuts and yeah, they probably don't want to hear about our training etc.
Me and my love Gina! So many memories together for sure and I wouldn't trade them for anything. From dating to getting married to life as parents... It does take work. Afterall, she does have to put up with me haha! She likely has no clue how much I love her but I certainly do!
Dozen Roses, Chocolate, Cards, Stuffed Animals and another Valentine's Day is complete...well almost...
Now it's complete! Yep, I cooked steak and crab legs and it was delicious! One of my favorite beers stocked was drank. Yep... Octoberfest by Sam Adams! It sucks that this beer is seasonal.
So the Friday night before the ultra I was cranky etc from the tapering that I helped Landon's team practice basketball. Saturday would end Kamryn and Landon's season. My legs were a bit sore from basketball oddly but duh, it used different muscles with the jumping etc required. I'm sure this played a factor in the ultra but not enough for me to miss opportunity to help my kiddos.
Ok... dress and supply rehearsal... yep the usual to do!
I actually do indeed love the challenge!!
Rich Keehn, friend, my first solo Shodan Student, and running mate agreed to run this adventure with me. So I picked him up about 715pm so we could meet here in Atlantic Beach by 830pm for our shuttle back to Maysville's HW 55 for the start, eats, race brief, bib and chip pickup etc.
During ultras, I don't get too serious. Afterall, lots can happen in a long race so why stress about it. The Shrimp burger and water it is!
Rich putting on the chip and reflectors...
I tried to sneak in a nap. Brandon strategically made us meet several hours early haha... nice work Brandon! you know we love your ways! I think this pic was taken by Henry Lupton of Goldsboro... thanks!
These 3 would make some history this race. Another pic by Henry I believe. Got to know Sam and Grace well but didn't talk to the eventual winner seated at center much. These cats would become the top 3!
The Race Brief with Brandon Wilson!
To prove you made it to some points you would have to hole punch your bib.
You know the more Wilson's around there are, the more adventure awaits!
David Soloman have been in many trenches together doing ultras for over a decade now. He's a cool guy and great photographer too!
Henry Lupton and I representing Wayne County Roots! We even had time to pick on our buddy CC Wilkins...my friend from Boy Scouts and endurance races. Hoping CC will try an ultra one day.
After the National Anthem we awaited the start from HW 55. Our nation's flag was flying high from a crane type truck as Brandon played the national anthem using his phone. It was great to see everyone being respectful with hats off and appropriately respecting our great nation and all who served to protect the very freedom that allowed us to be here for this event. The race took off without issues and I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one ready to simply do this! The weather was perfect and the rain storms etc which were expected were completed and the next set of storms would not come until after the race. We were pretty lucky to say the very least. This race would be like doing the last 50 of a 100 mile race since we were starting at midnight. The sleep and isolation factors were locked in but we were all excited.
I can't say enough thanks for the community support. Rich and I had a near private escort after realizing we were in the back of the pack. We had decided to do the traditional 6:4 run /walk ratio for about a 12-13 minute pace overall. In hindsight, we should of went a bit faster to compensate for the slower pace we'd later endure in the sand.
It's always pretty cool going past a state or county line. Go Rich!
Rich was welcomed with a nice surprise at one of the manned Aide Stations with his friends about 2amish Sunday morning.
The race provided stops like this with water and gatorade. They did a great job spacing out aide and overall support. Kudos to all the volunteers!
Crossing over the bridge we had to turn right here. It was a nice Greenway which was awesome because we no longer had to dodge oncoming traffic. During the night, during one episode of jumping to grass with oncoming traffic I had slightly turned my ankle. Honestly, it didn't even bother me so I didn't think about it. Unfortunately, later during our run through the sand, it would be a bit tender and limit me some.
During the walk portions of our run walks, we took advantage of some views with some picture taking. We had to reduce our walk runs to 1 minute run 1 minute walks when the sand became a challenge.
This sand became relentless but so were we. Rich had a great idea to do 30 second runs with 30 second walks. This was perfect but we also adapted by running extra when we could. The good running tracks were random and we found ourselves running in a zig zag pattern often in attempts to find solid ground which would not be easy to find. Many of the tire tracks were fantastic but some were as deceptive as the sand near the ocean. You would think you had an easy path and then your feet would sink below ankle level. All we could do is laugh and and enjoy the challenge. I could nearly see visions of Brandon Wilson smiling with satisfaction.
Mother Nature is no joke. Here we see the effects of recent NC Hurricanes and how she played with this pier. Nevertheless, God did manage to paint us quite the amazing view for us to enjoy. I sent Rich ahead so he could potentially finish in time. I knew he could do it!
I reached AS2 led by Jessica Brundige and assisted by Brandon's sons. They were awesome!! I can remember telling Jessica that this was obviously not her first rodeo. She was predicting my questions and needs before I could even ask. I would learn later that this lady was an experienced ultra runner as well as race director. This was an inside aide station complete with soups, a variety of other foods, clean bathrooms, and first aide items. I had caught up with Rich!! So off we went again but I simply was holding him back. He was able to endure longer stretches in that sand. Imagine being thrown into a gynmastic foam pit and trying to climb out. Well, that was how I felt trying to run in that sand.
After a marathon or so, I encouraged Rich to continue without me. I simply couldn't maintain the pace calculated to complete the 50m journey by the 1pm cutoff and I certainly felt he was stronger and did not want to hold him back. I joked with him and said he better go on since it was part of his Nidan test, 2nd degree black belt in Goju-Shorin Karate. He would go ahead and I would actually catch up with him at the next rest stop. Again, I told him to continue forward! Forward Relentless Progress!!
This would be my last great view before I would choose to throw in the towel for my first DNF. I hated the thought. I've always been a fighter but that 1pm deadline was in my face. I knew I would not be done till likely about 115pm without bathroom breaks. I hated this with a passion. I certainly didn't want to quit but didn't want to be pulled off the course either, UGH! I had originally thought this race would be cool since I just turned 50 so that number stuck in my mind. I decided to continue to the next Aide Station where Tim Scott, a Marine Special Operations Commander and ultra runner had volunteered along with his 2 daughters. Tim Scott and I met years ago so it was great to see him and catch up but I hated to meet under this circumstance. I would stop there because then I would have 32 miles which was over the 50k mark and the likelihood that I'd make up time was not in my cards this day. Simply said, I was not conditioned to battle that sand. It wouldn't be 50 miles but at least it was a 50k+. An ultramarathon is any distance longer than 26.2 miles or the typical marathon distance but I always personally view the 50k marker as the first point of going ultra. I would DNF, did not finish.. but as Jeff Dufour would later remind me "Did nothing Fatal".
Tim Scott would then take me to my car located at the Atlantic Beach Circle and then I'd meet them at Fort Macon to watch the runners. Oddly, despite my personal disappointment, I was excited to see the other runners finish and happy to cheer them on. That's part of the odd thing about the ultra community and well most any runner. We cheer for our competition. We are in many ways "ONE". Besides, we are an insane group and we do best to support each other!
Here I am with part of my therapy/runner/ultra friends Jenny Wilson. We first met working at Pitt County Memorial Hospital which is now called Vidant Medical Center. She worked in Physical Therapy and I worked in Occupational Therapy. Back in the day, groups of us from work would often hang out at places such as the MESH and enjoy 80's and other tribute bands while reducing the stress of work. Honestly, during that time, I wasn't back into running much yet other than up and down the court as a guard for the hospital basketball team. We both have always shared that passion to help others and obviously to challenge ourselves. Later, after I co-founded GORUN or Greenville Organization of Runners in 2008, she became a great supporter for the group and other runners. She has now emerged as a strong competitor in multiple distances including ultras. I really appreciated seeing her and having her support at the finish line. It sucked that our meeting was my first DNF. I wanted to also reach out and give a shoutout to all the volunteers including but not limited to Tim Scott and his daughters as well as Belinda at the finish. Belinda said I was crazy... we laughed and then she said BUT you're the good kind of crazy. Thanks Belinda... I think haha.
My newest running buddy Stephanie Carter found this gem! We have been in several ultras together but oddly this was the first one we had an opportunity to chat more. She told me that, "I did love that I was able to hold it like brass knuckles!" She would finish in 12 hours 14 minutes.
Henry Lupton finishing!
Rich Keehn finishing!
Seeing my buddy Rich smile as he finished the M2M50 was awesome! We have been through so much through the years and anytime there is another goal met, I smile with him.
Rich would not only make up the time to meet the 1pm cutoff, he would kill it in 12 hours and 22 minutes!
I have to give a shoutout to 361brand shoes and Blake Roberson friend and elite runner who recommended and sold the shoes to me. It was the first time I went over 50k distance without a blister!! If you get a chance to listen to Blake and Jesse's Podcast "Running On Indy", do it! It's a great podcast. Blake and Jesse have both represented the USA internationally running races.
There comes a time when the reality that I can't just run without training comes even more clear. 14.3 mile a week average is probably not the best way to train for ultras. Balancing family and work with training is a battle. Let's see how 2019 continues...
11 Finished... I was not one of them. I shall return!
The Wednesday after the Ultra I was teaching how to do Jump and Flying Kicks. Here is a shortened video of the Flying Side Kick. Not sure how long I'll be able to do these kicks but happy at age 50 I'm still business as usual. Osu no Seishin
My running buddy and author, Brian Burk, posted this and it hit hard. The biggest thing I learned from this event was pay now or pay later... well, I paid later on race day. I first became friends running with Brian at one of the Hinson24 Ultra Events. He continues to inspire me.
Here is a great easy read by Brian Burk...
In case you had an excuse or two...
In summation, you still feel like crap but in many ways this helps you learn and move on to the next adventure!
Big Toe nail that was blackened after the Tunnel Hill Ultra in November of 2018 finally taken off about a week after the M2MUltra...
Hmmmm.... what adventure awaits now??
Let's do this!