What 37.5 miles taught me  – Wildcat 100 Recap

What 37.5 miles taught me – Wildcat 100 Recap

“Well, how are you changed?” My wife asked me two days after I finished running 37.5 miles at the Wildcat 100 in Pensacola, FL.

“I feel satisfied…like I don’t have anything left to prove and ready to move on to the next thing.” I replied.

It was a crazy race. I came with the intent on running 100 miles in 40 hours. I had gotten some good tips from Jeff and Barb, reflected and learned from my 24 hr race last year and some good takeaways from a solid showing in Boston this year.  I was mentally and emotionally ready to tackle this race.

We set up the night before the race which I was very thankful for. It would be an additional stress to do that right before the race. The race organizers were fantastic, supportive and had us great facilities including a covered area for our tents, showers, full restrooms and a great aid station.

The course itself is very deceptive. You think FL and you think nice and flat ground. This had a variety of hills and included running along a few of the hills. (Meaning you were running at an angle).



Lesson 1: Everything multiplies.

Nearly all ultramarathons are some type of loop. This one was a 2.5-mile loop. With loops, all the nuanced pieces of the course are naturally multiplied. One of the sloped sections was a little over 100 yards and at about a 30-degree angle, which would not be that big of a deal if you are just running through it on a normal race. In this circumstance, I ended up running over a mile on it.  Those small technical pieces can grind you down without you even realizing it.


Lesson 2: The mind will try to take you out at some point.

Any race that I’ve done that’s longer than a half marathon, (and even some of those) The mind comes in and tries to take you out of the race. This is often referred to as The Wall and typically hits between mile 18 – 20 of a marathon. If you know it’s coming and are mentally prepared, you have a better chance of pushing through.

It can come at any time at the ultra and can even leave for a while and come back later since the race is so long. I had an unexpected bout really early at mile 12. It was more of self-doubt than anything. At that point, it was mid to upper 80s with the sun beating everyone down. How do I keep that up for 30 hrs? I eventually broke through it and embraced the situation I was in.


Lesson 3: Your race can change quickly.

In the afternoon, it began to rain…..hard. Here’s a video where you can hear how hard it came down at some points.



I’m fine with running in the rain and I actually enjoy it most of the time. One of my favorite runs ever was during a tropical storm. The wind, water and changing environment is oddly exciting to me. It was during this race as well.

It rained 3 inches between the first storm and the last one that night. The rain itself didn’t bother me at all, it was when the rain took on the multiplier effect of lesson #1 that I was in big trouble.

The amount of water wrecked my feet. Part of the trail was underwater from the flooding and grass kept your feet wet even between the storms. As a result, I got several blisters on my feet in a short amount of time. I stopped after every 2 laps to lance all the blisters, apply a special type of band-aid to them and change out socks.

My mind was strong, but my body was starting to fail me.

Old injuries came creeping back as well. Both sides of my hip, my right knee and my upper and lower back were killing me.

As night fell, I made the decision to up my body care, but it’s a one-way ticket. It involves wrapping the affected area in medical grade sports tape. It works fine on the feet, but the after effects on places like a man’s hairy legs are awful. They must use this stuff as the basis for Gorilla Glue, because the glue stays long after the tape is gone.

I taped up a large portion of my legs and got back out there with my headlamp in the dark and turned in one of my faster times of the race. Halfway during the second lap, the rain came back. Imagine yourself driving down the road at night with no windshield and only one headlight working.  Still, my spirit was strong, but a whole new round of blisters popped up and within a mile my body had broken.


I was disappointed and felt like I had let so many people down.


My wife took me back to the hotel and I got a good amount of sleep before heading back to the course the next morning. By then, I had made peace with being satisfied with my 50K. I only got a stronger confirmation of this when I checked in with our tent neighbors and found out that two people were put in the hospital during the night. Both of my neighbors dropped back like I did, and when a couple that runs 300-mile ultramarathons says that this was their hardest race, you believe them. The first place runner also quit after being 75% done.



Lesson 4: Friends and family are everything.

I ended up running this race solo, which is not how I planned to going into it. Sharon organized a phone schedule and a bunch of my friends called me while I was out on the course. It made all the difference. Julia was the first to call and it was right during that early mental battle. Just having someone to talk to helped me overcome that hurdle. I also talked to other friends while running in the rain, navigating flooded paths, taking some breaks and out at night. Thank you all that took to the time to call, text or message me on social media. It was more impactful than you know!

I do have the best family. Sharon would often be waiting on me as I finished my lap, had me a Powerade and would either apply Biofreeze to hurt areas or reapply sunscreen as I walked. She was like a rolling pit-stop in Nascar! Beth walked a lap with me when I was really hurting and she helped me really make it through the heat before all the rain came. My son just entertained people and explored the area. He enjoyed being out there as well.  I could not do what I do without you.

This was the cap to my race season. I ran 1 5K, 4 10Ks, 4 half marathons, 3 marathons and an ultra marathon.    I do have a few bonus races left in the calendar year with a really fun finisher prize for the next series in October.


Keep pushing yourself to reach your personal goals. You are capable of much more than you think!

Peachtree Roadrace 2018

Peachtree Roadrace 2018

The Peachtree Roadrace is the biggest running party in Atlanta and perhaps the world. It’s also the world’s largest 10K and one of the largest overall races to take place yearly across the globe. Held on the 4th of July, you are guaranteed to get a splash of freedom as you run the course.


I’ve come to really love this race for a few reasons. It’s my fastest Atlanta 10K. (The year it was shut down while a storm passed.) I’ve loved enjoying the course with both local and national friends. My good friend Jeff Galloway also won the first one 49 years ago. I also think of the race as a way to celebrate the legacy that he has built in his lifetime.


If you want to do this race I would suggest joining the Atlanta Track Club. You are guaranteed entry and with next year being the 50th, I would expect the lottery pool to be larger than it ever has.

The Expo and Pre Race

The expo is really a good experience. It’s well organized and has a good variety of A-level vendors. There are races from all over the South there where you can get some great sign up deals and you just may run into Jeff or Barb at their booth. We typically spend about an hour here but have blown as much as 2hr here in the past. They also have a nice kids area and a huge sale on past track club event shirts.


This was the first year that we stayed near the start line. There are definitely pluses and minuses to the strategy.

  • + We could leave the hotel almost at start time. If you have a coral that’s a few back and arent with a group you can actually leave after the first people start and still get there in plenty of time.
  • + Sleeping in and no stress before the race. Our hotel also was giving out some food items for people on the way to the race.
  • – The trip back to the top of the race is brutal. Brutal!! It’s over a mile straight uphill to get to a bus to ride to a train to get back to the room.
  • – We typically park at the end and walk/train to the front early in the AM. The plus to this is when we are done running, we are close-ish to the car and can get out of the area.


Either way, you’ve got to make sure that you are dressed up for the race. You can go cotton teeshirt and mowing shorts, but what is the fun in that? I try to go head to toe America these days for the race.


Race Day

We certainly enjoyed the “late” wake up call and being close to the start. We met up with our friends and headed out to the start.

My personal goal is to eat a whole meal plus on the course. It’s that stocked by the people of Atlanta! I eat fairly light the night before and don’t have breakfast before the race. We eat nearly from end to end of the race. We had Krispy Creme, popsicles, pizza, muffins, kabobs, oranges, sandwiches, candy and other fun stuff.

You also see a bunch of fun groups out there. There are a group of guys that go all out every year. Last year they were astronaughts and this year they were a water polo team. We also saw a full Marta Train and other crazy costumes.

I think our favorite stop is always the Shepherd Center. It sits on the course and they will bring their patients out to cheer and see the runners. We love to run through say hi, and say good morning to them. They are just about the only non-food thing that we stop for. They always give out wrist sweatbands, so that’s where the green ones come from in our pics.

It always goes by way too fast! At the end, you get your finisher’s shirt. It’s a surprise of what it’s going to be until you get there that morning. They also give out peaches and Coke at the end as well.  If you are a track club member you can also enjoy a private retreat area, although you have to get fairly speedy or they will run out of stuff before you get there.

The Peachtree Roadrace is one that I highly recommend. See you at the 50th!


Next up: The Wildcat 100 Miler!

Boston Marathon (Tough  Ruck) 2018

Boston Marathon (Tough Ruck) 2018


The Boston Marathon (Tough Ruck) was a culmination of many different parts of challenging myself over the years. In 2013 I participated in several GoRuck events. They are basically 8-12 hr events that are put on by special forces personnel that challenge and teach teamwork elements. You carry a 30ld ruck the whole time while marching, carrying other additional heavy objects and working on scenarios set by the cadre. In 2016, I did what I never thought I could do. I ran a marathon.


The Boston Marathon is the diamond in the crown of racing. Most serious runners have the dream of someday running in that race. The problem is that its a lottery based on running times. You have to be stupid fast just to even have a chance of getting in and there is still no guarantee then. When researching the race I discovered Tough Ruck. Simply put, it’s the military division of Boston. The main difference is that you do the race with 30lbs or more strapped to your back the whole time. it checked all my boxes: Boston, an extra challenge, and hanging out with fellow vets. Also, there was no time limit requirement to sign up. If you are brave/dumb enough to do it, then you are welcome to come. It was even recently opened to civilians to participate as well. They open 1000 slots a year starting on Veterans Day.


I had signed up for both the Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, Half, Full Marathon) and the Ultimate Peach Challenge (10K, 10 miler, Half, Full Marathon) this last year. If there was ever a time that I was going to be ready for this challenge, it would be this year. I began prep by rucking around Atlanta. My wife and also toured several metal shops around the north end of town looking of the perfect piece of steel to serve as the weight for the event. We eventually found a blackened piece of scrap stilling in a junk pile. It was difficult to bring it back to life and figure out how to paint it without rusting it, but it was always very rewarding on a personal level. I chose to paint mine with the 39th Infantry Brigade logo.  It was the last unit that I served with.

Pre Race Touring and Expo

I had never been to the Boston area before, so I took a few days to see the sights and explore the area. I ventured down to Connecticut, Rhode Island and settled in at Plymouth Rock. It was quite a different experience from what I am used to, but I loved every place I visited. The waitress at a local place made sure I had my first clam chowder. (It was great!)  I The next day I made back into Boston and walked the Freedom Trail, visited the Boston Marathon store and saw the team repainting the finish line.  I absolutely fell in love with the city and can’t wait to come back in the future.


The expo was not quite what I expected. I think it was smaller than what I was expecting. They still had some crazy displays and exclusive merch at many of the vendors. I picked up the finishers jacket, 2 pairs of the shoes, some new Oofos, a magnet and some socks. I did enjoy riding the train into and out of town. Probably weird for a local, but it made me feel more connected to the city.

The night before the event of a bunch of the participants and the committee team had dinner together. I sat with the committee and it was a great time learning how the event kicked off and grew and the stories that have happened over the years as well. We also got see a live stream of a unit in Kuwait who were doing the challenge live at their base. We then broadcast ours to them the next day. It was a special surprise to see and be a part of that. Another special piece is that we were each asked to carry the names of fallen heroes on our pack to honor and remember them. I picked up a few as well as carried some names of those from our running team back home.

The Event

Tough Ruck is now run two days before the regular version. There are a couple of reasons why. First, you can imagine after the bombing several years ago that it might alarm the massive amount of spectators to see a guy running down the street with a heavy backpack following the other runners. It keeps them and us safe. The second reason is the security issue. The main race already has a heavy amount of security and we would only add to that burden. That’s not to say we didn’t have security checks. Each of our packs were checked multiple times by dogs and also by military personnel. They were also weighed before and after the race to make sure you didn’t drop weight along the course.

I wanted to do well, but I was a little bit nervous. I had an awful marathon (GA Marathon) less than a month earlier and that was without the weight. I had a run walk strategy and I would stick to the strategy that Barb Galloway gave me before the race. “Use the run-walk method. Don’t start out too fast and then pass them later in the race.” I had the Galloway timer and it was the first time that I was using in the race. When I told the committee what my target time was I think they thought I was crazy. I was going to give it my all and try not to fall too far behind.

The course was along the area of the first battle in the Revolutionary War. It was also the anniversary of the event and every year they re-enact the battle. By re-enact, I mean fully re-enact the whole day. I ran into these redcoats practicing for the battle just as they would throughout the day. During the morning, families and kids were out doing chores just as they did back then. It was like taking a time machine back. It was early enough that there weren’t a bunch of spectators out yet. I was sitting at about 35th place so there weren’t really any other people out there at the time.

A few hours in, I start noticing a lot more redcoats showing up along the route and the families have disappeared. This part of the course is an out and back twice meaning that I got to see the same scenarios four times as they changed throughout the day. I would also run into some of the committee members who were surprised, excited and encouraging that I was hanging with the front pack. It was getting serious on my third time through. I nearly got hit by a 7 ft tall horse with the soldier asking me what I was running from!

I finally stopped at the bathroom and lost my count on my ranking. I was 29th going in, but at least passed me while I was in there. The last segment was crazy. I was worn out, so I called a couple of friends to talk to get my mind off of the pain. I had a ton of people text and leave messages which were very encouraging as well. By the time I was coming through the area for the last time, it was a full-on battle. I was getting shot at, cannons were going off and there were people everywhere! Once I left the park it was still a few miles back to the finish through the town. There were no mile markers so I didn’t know how far to go or my ranking still. I was passing people but each pass was a battle. It was competitive so no one wanted to let anyone else pass them. I know that was true for me. I had a person that came up on me and I went from run-walk to just run to put some distance on them.

I was mentally exhausted at the end. I fell for the “You’re almost there!” cheer when in fact I was not. It was just me in the last mile. There were people behind me but not close enough to be a threat and not a person in front of me. As I began to crest the last hill I saw a vet to had lost both of his legs in combat cheering me own. That nearly brought me to tears (and still does as I’m writing this) He gave me the last boost of energy I needed to make it to the finish.  I found out I finished 22nd overall at the race. That was a great feeling!

They also had a great post-race experience. Free massages, a full hot meal, free ice cream and all kind of swag.

If you are up to the challenge, I would highly recommend doing this event. It’s a very rewarding experience!

Up next Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!

Mentally Overcome your Obstacles

Mentally Overcome your Obstacles

Mentally Overcome Your Obstacles

GA Marathon 2018


I recently ran the Georgia Marathon as part of a running challenge in the Atlanta. I had just completed a 48-mile series about 8 weeks prior so I felt that, while challenging, the race would be doable. The race had other ideas and it turned into one of the most challenging events of my life. At mile 14 I felt a little tired. By mile 19 both of my calves had severe cramps, both sides of my hips were burning and I had a pulled muscle in my lower backside. One of these can knock you out of a race and I had seven at once! I eventually went on to conquer the course and was reminded of some good life lessons along the way.


When you are holding someone back: Let them go. 
I have a running partner that runs the vast majority of races with me. We have been through thick and thin together on and off the course. There is a difference between helping and supporting someone through their challenges and them dragging you down.  I knew that day that I had turned from needing help to a liability. Finishing the last 6 miles was going to be even more challenging alone, but I had to cut her loose. It was a bittersweet moment with a few tears shed, but she eventually went on without me.  In the business world, this may be holding someone back from a promotion because they are so essential to you. Let them go. In your personal life, it may be someone that continues to take from the relationship and offers nothing in return. Let them go. Have the self-awareness to know when you are dragging someone down and the courage to break away from those that drag you down.


When everything in your head tells you to stop: Keep moving. 
We all hit rough patches in life and work. I was certainly in a rough patch mentally for those final six miles. There were times I just wanted to stop, call my wife and tell her to come get me. Instead of focusing on the mental battle and the physical challenges I was having, I chose to instead focus on just getting a little further. Let me get down this hill. Let me just get to that light pole. Sometimes you have to focus solely on whats right ahead of you. It’s too overwhelming to take in the everything at once and you’ll mentally break. The same mentality is often found in the first responder field. A firefighter doesn’t look at a highrise fire and take in the distance, the weight of the equipment, the heat, the danger, and pain. They focus on getting up the steps, then to the door and then clearing a room. When you are in that tough spot, narrow in your focus to just keep moving forward. If you become overwhelmed, narrow your focus to help you get an edge and get back in the game.


When temptation arises to take a shortcut: Hold to your integrity.
There were two out and backs on the course at the exact wrong time. One at mile 22 and another at mile 25. All I had to do to cut some length off of the course was to step over a cone and go back the other way. Extremely easy to do and no one would have stopped me. At the end of the day remember that how you got there is just as important as actually getting to the finish line. Avoid taking those tempting shortcuts in work and life if it means compromising your integrity or ethics. Your sense of accomplishment will be less and it lingers on you longer than the joy of completing the project.


When pain dominates your story: Remember why you are on this journey. 
Sometimes physical pain, grief, depression, or hopelessness tries to dictate our story. Remember why you are there and why you need to push ahead and finish. My mind was trying to remind me of the pain constantly. I had to remember and hold on to the reason I was there: to finish this 50+ mile challenge. I only had 6 miles to go and if I didn’t complete it that day, I would just have to come back and do it all over again. I wasn’t coming back! You are the author of your story, not your pain, not your guilt, not your grief and not your hopelessness. Remember the journey.

Never give up on yourself. You are capable of so much more than your mind lets you believe…. and don’t forget to smile.

Make a better tomorrow.



The 24hr Race

The 24hr Race


You can read about the road leading up to the big day HERE

Like it or not, it was 4:45 AM and I was awake. The race is less than 10 minutes away, so there was plenty of time, but I got up anyway and started getting ready.



I arrive at the location of the race. I pulled in at the same time as Wyly. We were the first two there and looking for a good spot to set our stuff up. She was my first true introduction to the ultra marathoner people group. They are all quite friendly, generally more laid back than regular runners and have a tight connection since there are so few of them. She was training for the Keys 100 miler later on and went out of her way to support me when she found out that this would be my first ultra attempt. I loved the community already.


The team shows up and we begin building what amounts to Casa de Radio. It’s a small hobo village for four people.  Luke and I finally get to unite our big heads together that we’ve had since December. We were supposed to run with them together in January, but our race was cancelled. I’m sure they will make a future appearance. It’s also 40 degrees out.


We make our final preparations, say a quick prayer and head to the start. It’s the most relaxed start I’ve ever seen. No gun, no anthem, just a countdown from 10.  Somehow it fits perfect for the vibe of the event.




Nicki, Luke and I tear through the first hour and knock out a quick 5.25 miles. Chris is tearing through at steady pace as well. Everyone’s talking on the course.  The photographer shows up and starts giving us instructions on our loops.

“Next lap, give me three across in a unison stride.”

“Next lap, don’t look at the camera, but have fun.”

“Net lap, go single file with 10 ft in between you.”



Luke and I switch down to a slower pace, while Nicki continues on. We do a modified interval schedule for the next three hours meeting all kinds of people on the course.


Suns out, thighs out…..and Ben is doing some super hero pose.

Our first coordinated break. We eat “lunch” consisting of the most random cravings that are already starting to sink in. No one eats too much, just enough to settle our stomachs. Luke and I also take the chance to change clothes. It was getting quite warm now. I went from one extreme to another. At race start it was pants with multiple top layers. Now I was in my ranger panties and a tshirt. (BTW if you want to blow an hour laughing at customer reviews or get yourself a pair, you can find them AT AMAZON ) I also had a blister on the side of my big toe, but caught it early enough to slow it down with a specialty band-aid.


We had planned on cutting our 30 min lunch down to 15 so we could get more of a buffer on mileage. Missing this allotted time would serve as a foreshadow to the rest of the day.



Luke and I had been going for basically 5 1/2 hrs at this point and my hip injury was flaring in full force. It was only 1/4 of the way through the race and I was facing my first set of demons. Luke was doing everything right. He was slowing himself down to give me a break. Both sides of the hips were on fire at this point with a fist sized spot also building in my upper back. He still hung with me.

“I haven’t run a full marathon in a year and a half and I’ve only run 16 miles total to prepare for this race because of these dumb hips.’

I’d just let the enemy in.

I knew that I had the mental fortitude to push on, but the demons were whispering to me about my partner. I was letting him down. I was letting my team down. I started mathing out a new stretch goal to hit. Could I make a double marathon in a day? I was walking more and I knew Luke was still feeling great. Luckily Nicki came by and he asked if it were OK for him to run with her for awhile.

Officially an ultra-marathon runner!

The demons could no longer speak about letting my friend down since he was now back to knocking out major miles. It was an oddly freeing feeling. I dropped in some music and got a boost and really started knocking out a good pace myself and officially cross the ultra-marathon mark. I stop, get teary eyed with Sharon for a minute and keep going.  Chris was still plugging away so consistently.


We all break again. Checking in on each other other. I change clothes again and the race people have now had Zaxbys delivered, pizzas, sodas, jelly beans, sandwiches and other goodies for us. We eat mostly from their supplies this round.


Nicki and Luke are still machining through miles. Chris is getting worn down some. I’m now past the 50K mark and I’ve just hit wall number two. I’m in heavy pain management at this point, and the buzz of the second wind has long worn off.

Chris is taking a break on the side of the trail with Danielle, Sharon and the kids still cheering everyone else on. I remember being angry, laying down and asking for a pillow. Later Chris would tell me that this was the point that he thought I may have been done. The demons were back, this time focusing on the amount of pain and lack of miles compared to my ultimate stretch goal.

“You have so much further to go. You’re probably not going to make it this time.” They were speaking straight into me at this point.

Chris got up after a bit and got me up and going. Danielle could tell I wasn’t doing well, and offered to go a couple of laps with us. I felt like a hospital patient going down the hall with an IV tower with them making sure I didn’t fall over. It took a couple of laps but I got stretched out and had defeated my second round of internal demons. I was choosing to move forward….with the help of Chris.


The schedule was officially shot at this point, but we were all on break together. Luke and Nicki were still doing their thing, and Chris and I were now battle buddies that were going to see this thing through. Even though it was painful, I really had a great time with Chris. We hadn’t actually ran with each other at a race, so this was a great bonding experience together.

9:15 PM

We are in full night mode now, and the pack of racers has thinned significantly. The course was now reversed and it was throwing us all off after running it for 12 hrs. On a side note, new 12hr runners were introduced to the course so there was some speed reintroduced.


Chris and I are slowly knocking out miles, but it’s taking its toll. It’s gotten cold again; back in the 40s. It takes a huge amount of effort each round. We would rest after a 3-4 lap set, but it would be very difficult to get going again. It would take a lap to get back loose, we would get two good ones, and the last one you would feel awful on. Repeat that for a few hours. I ask for a check on 50 miles. 11 laps. Seems like I should be much closer but I keep plugging away.


After a short break with everyone I check in again at the count table. This time 11 laps to my double marathon. I’m determined now to push through with no breaks because I really wanted to get some sleep. Luke joined Chris and I for some laps as Nicki slept. We were walking, but we were doing it as a team. A lap later they call out Luke and Chris’ numbers and then someone else’s instead of mine. I went to check the board and didn’t get credit for a lap. I was still at 11.

Frustrated, I kept going with the guys. We began making our final plans on mileage and the last push.

We knew that all of the other 24hr racers except for one had quit at this point. Luke had an archrival who ran 100 laps and then left. Obviously we needed to get Luke to 101. I had my own archrival; an 81-year-old man. It seemed appropriate. The uptick to this gentleman is that he was basically a ultra-marathon legend and this was his 254th ultra marathon race. He left for several hours, but had shown back up in the middle of the night. I knew I was ahead, but he was out there somewhere coming for me.


Chris and Luke take a break and I finally make it in to the 50 miler club! Only four more laps until I double marathon.

I pick Luke and Chris up at our camp stop and I have a boost of energy that will get me half way through my last set. Chris hits a wall two laps in and peels off. Luke is encouraging both of us and I can hear the demons coming back for one final hoorah. I’m walking 25 minute miles at this point and it’s laborious to just put one foot in front of the other.


I finally make the last lap. We had decided to leave the last 100 yards until 8 am so we could all finish together. I excitedly crawl into the tent and get the best 3 1/2 hrs sleep of my life. Chris and Luke still plug away at their laps and eventually come to get some rest too.  Nicki has been up for awhile and is doing some run/walk. She’s stayed the closest to the ultimate stretch schedule and has a shot at hitting it. Meanwhile the old man’s set up is still there, but he’s nowhere to be found. Is he still out there on the course?


I come out of my slumber to Chris asking me if I want some coffee. I put my order in for hot chocolate, Luke and I mumble something to each other about never leaving this tent for the rest of our lives and we dose back off.


The alarm goes off and we can hear the girls outside in the distance. Chris is actually back on the course this morning. Luke and I get a room service delivery of our drinks and life is good. We start getting ourselves together and find Nicki curled up in a chair with a bunch of blankets. She kept going, but she had hit her goal.

Sharon and Danielle start tearing our stuff down and packing up for us. We could not have done this event without them. I mean we looked like jacked up hobos at this point! The race director comes by to make sure we are still alive. It’s just us and two other people that did the overnight 12 hr at this point.


We walk across the finish together as a team.



The race director tallies the results.

Nicki: 1st place female 24 hr, 1st place overall mileage  76.05 miles

Luke: 1st place male 24 hr, 1st place male overall mileage  65.65 miles (He beat his rival by a lap)

Zack: 3rd place male 24 hr,    52.65 miles. (I beat my rival by 2.5 miles)

Chris: 5th place male 24hr,  37.05 miles (He beat his goal of 34 miles)



Chris wrote a beautiful piece as he thought back on the event. I couldn’t say it any better so I’ll let you hear it from him:


First of all, congratulations are in order for all our runners. We had 3 runners complete their first ultra-marathon. Based on statistics from 2015 (the most recent I could find), less than 1/2 of 1% of all runners will complete an ultra-marathon. Congratulations and welcome to the 0.5% club!

Secondly, I want to thank our awesome support team of Sharon, Danielle, Ben, Beth, and Austin. You guys cheered us on, brought us snacks, ran with us through the tough miles, and took care of us when we were in no shape to take care of ourselves. You guys deserve a medal just as much as the runners do, if not more.

Third, I want to share how truly blessed I feel to be part of this team. The WDW Radio Running Team showed up in force and dominated this race. We took home 1st place for the women, as well as 1st and 3rd place for the men. Together, we logged over 230 miles, which breaks down to over EIGHT MARATHONS in 24 hours. To get to that insane number of miles, we had to push ourselves and each other well past what we thought we were capable of. We dragged one another back onto the trail instead of stopping. We put in the miles together when none of us could have done it on our own. Thanks to all of you for being part of this crazy family we all share. I love you guys and can’t wait to take on our next challenge together.



The Road to the 24HR Race

The Road to the 24HR Race

I’ve said in the past how I would never run a half marathon. I spent a few years doing really well on the obstacle course racing circuit, but the thought of straight running for a long distance was not appealing at all. The pull of running all the Disney races in a year got me into half marathons and even a full marathon. I rationalized it by meeting the rare characters on the course. (I have still only run one non-Disney half marathon.) I just didn’t have an active interest in long distance running.

Then Chris Steele happened.

Chris is a good friend that I’ve made while running the Disney races. We are on the same running team (WDW Radio Running Team) and it turned out that we live pretty close to each other. Our families get along really well and we enjoy hanging out outside of race weekends.

Chris hit me up last summer about doing a local 12hr race with him. It’s right down the road from my house and we could run an ultra marathon together. It takes him a while to wear me down, but I eventually say yes. My bad ideas/competitiveness creeps in and then the next thing he knows, I’m trying to convince him to do the 24hr option instead.

It’s now January 2017 at Disney marathon weekend. I finally convince Chris to do the 24hr option by literally registering for it in front of him at our lunch table. I remember one of the team members coming up to us.

Them:  “What are ya’ll doing?”

Chris: “I guess we are signing up for a 24 hr race.?.?”

The word spreads quickly and then we turn into salesmen trying to recruit some other poor unfortunate souls to make some dumb decisions with us. We find sucker #1 and #2 in Luke and Nicki.

Luke and I did an infamous round out west together where we were race famous during the weekend because of our shenanigans. Then we actually coordinated costumes for the races in January.  Some say it’s a bromance, I just say it took our whole lives to find each other. We are running brothers from other mothers.

Nicki has shown up fast in our team. She’s been on an inspiring story of health and exercise and is now one of, in not the, fastest person on our team. She’s up for crazy, so I thought that she would be down.


In a matter of an hour we had assembled the first ever WDW Radio Ultra Marathon Team.

It’s hip to be injured

Fast Forward a week and Nicki and I are out west  running at the Star Wars Lightside race weekend.

I was feeling great for the 5k out there and was somewhere in the top 10-20 when I hit the castle. I decided I would get a great running jump shot. Well it turned out good, but my hip hated it. I was in off and on pain for the rest of the weekend.

I think, “Surely rest would make it better. I’ve also got 3 months until the ultra so plenty of time right??”

Princess weekend comes in Feb and I injure it again during the half marathon there.

Again I think, “Surely rest would make it better. I’ve got 2 months until the ultra so plenty of time right??”

Well there was no discernible change from mid February to April. I was now at the point that I had gone every day for the past 15 months with some kind of pain in my body. My only runs were with Sharon as she was continuing on her new running goals.

At the end of the day, I had trained a total of 6 times for a mileage total of 17 miles. The longest run was 6 miles. That’s all well and good for a 10k plan, but this was for a 50k plus.


I’m a planner, not a quitter

If there is one thing my experience in life has taught me is that it pays to be a good strategic thinker. If my body wasn’t ready for this race at least I could plan and prepare for all the variables.  My list included:

  • An hour by hour plan of running, pace, breaks, sleep and clothing changes
  • Tent, pads, sleeping bags, chairs and a lantern
  • Clothes for weather from 30-80 degrees, separated and clearly marked
  • 4 pair of shoes
  • Medical and sports aid of all kinds
  • Food
  • Solar shower
  • Multi layer goals- marathon, ultra marathon, 50K, 75K, 50 miles, double marathon, 100k, 75 miles

Heres a copy of the schedule with the top tier goal of 75 miles.


The weekend had arrived. I wasn’t scared or nervous. I’d done events with GoRuck at night and I knew that I would be facing some inner demons at some point. Most of all I knew it was going to hurt and I needed to get my mind ready to embrace that new reality when it came.

Luke and Nicki came in town and we did the tourists deal, having a blast in downtown Atlanta.  It was time to do this.

Next up: The 24hr Race