Monday, October 1, 2012

Signing A Waiver

I signed up online for an event in December.  I clicked trough the waiver like I always do but something caught my eye that made me go back and read it through. 

Release of Liability
I understand that running is a strenuous activity and has some inherent risk, some would say moreso on the trails than on a treadmill inside some meat-market gym.  But then, who’s going to listen to “some” when your friends drag you out onto the dirt for more than what a treadmill can provide?  Having heard just enough, though likely not researched enough; and likely not listened hard enough about the Coyote genre of trail running events from other Coyote Veterans, and thus chosen to subconsciously or consciously forget/ignore, I realize that my inattention to my own health and well-being cannot be cause for my ranting at the organizers, sponsors and supporters, in all their sizes and forms and personalities, for whatever mental grievance or alleged physical discomfort I may concoct just to please my own self-centered sense of how right I always am and how wrong the rest of the world should recognize it is.  In signing, I hereby and therefore aver and avow that I recognize the risks of trying to participate in the Cajun Coyote trail run towards the objective of crawling into bed Saturday night (Dec 1st) or Sunday morning (Dec 2nd) in as good health as I brought to the game Saturday morning, and that there is no medical reason (beyond the sanity piece my doctor seemingly wants to bring up more often than I’d prefer) that I should not attempt to run and enjoy my long hours, from morning’s light and potentially into the deep, deep, deep darkness of night, and dang, maybe even into Sunday morning.  Some say, and others have confirmed, that running on trails poses many hazards, not limited to falls, slips, trips, dips, caca weather, swamp monster and bayou bogeyman attacks in broad daylight or deep, deep, deep darkness of night, and generally a whole bunch of other dangerous conditions that you don’t want to read about, but have heard from those “some” and “others” that often motivate the more skittish in life just to sit in their cocooned condo and have all their food and household possessions delivered to their doorstep and/or conduct their interaction with the outside world almost completely via online resources, and who wait impatiently glued to C-SPAN coverage in hopes that Congress will magically implode and we’ll return to that fantasy world of benevolent government catering to all citizens’ wishes.  Considering all that I’ve acknowledged above, summarily, I fully assume (and promising not to parse that into the proverbial you and me looking like an ass) all risks of illness, spillness, fulfillness, thrillness, injury or (yes, my Precious) even death, and release covenant (that means something legal to cover the butts of the lay people who couldn’t figure out how the lawyers sustain their livelihood off of saps like us) not to sue or otherwise pursue legal judgment, and discharge the CajunDip (“The Dip”), the Coyote Cohorts and its volunteers, Chicot State Park and its jurisdictional parent organization, and all other contributors, or other agents (except them clan-dess-tine fed’ral guys who may have a part in them swamp monsters showin’ up) from all actions (meaning, here, the legal definition of the term, cuz otherwise, you’ll be “active” when you’re running or hanging out consuming Cajun yummies at the Finish, so isn’t that “action” too, which now suggests you shouldn’t be doing it, right?), claims or demands for damages arising out of my participation in the Cajun Coyote events.  The foregoing release (and, gee, isn’t there a lot of it?) is binding on me personally, as well as upon my heirs/’airs/airs (whichever or all of which may apply), executors, and administrators (and if I have that many and can afford them, then if I survive the weekend mentally intact, perhaps I’ll send a few Jacksons, Grants or Franklins back to the Coyote Cohorts for their much depleted coffers brought on by having to pay a hefty legal fee for creating this waiver), and/or all members of my family who might make claim on my behalf.  I also confirm that I bear the full burden for reading and taking personal ownership of all salient information (by which rolling multi-syllabic presentation means anything The Dip took time to craft and put in front of my eyes) provided to me on the Cajun Coyote website and/or sent to me via e-mails from The Dip that pertains to my participation in this event, such that should I either fail to read the messages or ignore their significance to my preparation and running in the Cajun Coyote madness, any complications I experience (for example, forgetting to pack my lucky Mongo Monkey in my fanny pack because I just got SO excited about going to Chicot State Park that I lost sight of my priorities) is my own goll darn fault, and any whining on point will be appropriately discredited and serve as fodder for being ridiculed at public settings before, during and after Cajun Coyote.  Two more things:  (1) I realize there will be Ultra Paparazzi spread throughout the Cajun weekend, and any images of myself that they capture may be used at will by them and event management to highlight not only what an incredibly fit and able runner I am, but other shortcomings as well, including but not limited to fashion sense, eating manners, swilling of drinks, any lack of entertainment skills, and/or general human comportment (crawling to the Finish line, or upchucking out of an Aid Station, included).  (2) I also aver and avow that if my sanity isn’t medically discharged before Cajun Coyote expires deep, deep, deep into Saturday’s darkness or after Sunday’s quirky murky sunrise, the beneficent part of me may actually incite me to share some of my premium hooch with one or more of the Volunteers who gave up their weekend so that mine could be as self-indulging as I care to make it.  OK, now I’m done.  Here I go now to sign my name as record of my lack of common sense but complete willingness to abide by the above provisions (not to be confused with the semi-edible provisions which may be awaiting me at any or all of the aid stations I will encounter while suffering, er, enjoying my miles of the Cajun Coyote Trail Run.  Gosh, thinking of such rich culinary experiences has my mouth watering already!!).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Arrowhead Dreams

 Days and nights of 30 Below Frostbit my finger and can't feel my toe,
Timberwolf paw prints dot the snow,

Am I still on the trail or where do I go?

Since I left I-Falls I wonder why,

I must be crazy to even try,

I'm determined to finish,

but I won't lie,

The Arrowhead Trail seems tougher than I.

Frostbite Falls to Vermillion sky;

Afraid of the dark? So why even try?

Fearless will finish; fearful will cry.

Only the toughest will dare apply.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ultra Life TV

If you are bored on Saturday at noon or Sunday at 1:30, you can
spend a ½ hour learning more about me than you probably care to know.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Picture This

I have been doing a lot of reflecting on how things went down at Arrowhead this year and I know what got me this time. I just couldn't understand how I could be so tired that I was falling asleep by 1 a.m. the first night and was 3 hours later than I wanted to be getting to the second check point. And when I got to that checkpoint, I was toast. I knew I didn't have enough in me to finish the event but I knew I had enough to continue. So I did with the hope that somewhere along the way I would regain some energy but it never happened. About 5 miles out of the checkpoint I knew my event was over and started to think of an exit strategy. I was 13 miles from the nearest road so I made a decision to again try and delay my quitting and see if something would change in the next 13 miles which would take me 5-6 hours.

Along the way, I crossed over a little bridge in the middle of an open area about the size of a football field. I stopped and looked out into the field and could see deer standing. I froze so I wouldn't startle them and just watched. There looked to be 6-8 of them. Then I looked closer and I could see coming up behind them, frozen in his tracks, a Timber Wolf. I could not believe my eyes that I was maybe going to witness a Wolf getting a meal. I remember saying to myself that I have to take a mental picture of this. As I took it all in, I thought it odd that the deer were not moving at all, no twitching, no tail waging, no nothing. The wolf didn't move either. I again told myself to take a mental picture as maybe what I was seeing wasn't real. I was very tired and at the end of my rope. Then I thought, oh yes, I have my cell phone camera, I'll take a picture. I took 2 pictures just to make sure. After returning home and looking at my Garmin data, I could see that I stood in the same place for over 10 minutes. What I did in those 10 minutes, I have no idea though it was peaceful, and even a little joyous. I had taken it in mentally and took a picture with a camera to share with others.

As I said earlier, I figured out what my problem was that kept me from finishing the Arrowhead this year. Cold induced asthma. I had heard of it though never had a problem with it. I later found out that many people were suffering from it this year at Arrowhead. Kind of odd in that it was 60 degrees warmer than last year though there was a lot of humidity. All I know is that I will bring an inhaler with me next time. I'm already excited to give it another try.

Oh, and the pictures. I could post them but you wouldn't enjoy them as much as I do. I guess you had to be there. There is nothing on them.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Score: Arrowhead 3 Rick 1

I'll retire from it when the score is even. Had a great time though it proved too much for me this year. More life lessons learned. I guess I learned that life isn't so much about accomplishing things as it is about touching lives. I can do that even if I fail and I'm ok with that. I'll keep trying. I'll post a complete rundown of the event soon. Thanks for following along.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tank is empty

Rick just called and said that he is "all out of gas" and ended the trek at mile 90. The loose snow made the going tough and used up alot of energy trying to walk/run through it. More to come from him in the upcoming days. Safe travels to the ones that are still at it on the Arrowhead trail...... Kristy W

Track #50 - is he moving?

It gets kind of confusing watching the SPOT tracking after awhile because the last track numbered from the SPOT after it gets to #50 will always be #50 - even though Rick has moved and the last track has moved. You can tell the time of day of the last #50 track by clicking on the black circle.

2 hours and back at it

After a break of two hours, it looks as though Rick is back on the move leaving Melgeorge's at 12:14 p.m.

Melgeorge's Resort - Mile 72

Time of Arrival - 10:19 a.m.

Steady Progress

Nothing new from Rick since around 10 p.m. last evening. Looks as though steady progress was made throughout last night, with about a 20 minute stop at a shelter located at mile 59 around 4:39 a.m. Right now, the tracking shows Rick around mile 64. Melgeorges resort, the second checkpoint, is at mile 72. Rick has a cabin rented there and if all is going as planned, will probably sleep a bit and eat the Papa Murphy's pizza that he brought along. Kristy W

Mile 50

1:00 A.M. Tuesday, Jan 31st.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mile 45

Time - 10.08 p.m. Rick called to say goodnight. He ate hotdogs and chips and drank some Coke at the Gateway Store. Laid down for a few minutes before he and Ben started on the trail again at around 7:33 p.m. He says that the temperature seems to still be around 17 with no wind. He put on an extra shirt before leaving Gateway - but proceeded to overheat as it is warmer now than it was at the start of the race this morning. Thankfully, there probably won't be any -40 to deal with overnight. That is certainly a blessing. Kristy

The Gateway Store

Rick will be stopping at the first checkpoint, the Gateway store, which is at the 36.7 mile mark and is planning on being there for about an hour. His SPOT tracking will be at a standstill, but no worries as he is inside probably drinking some Coke and eating a hotdog. He has been traveling along with Ben Clark, another ultrarunner from ND. Ben is a student at NDSU. He ran across the State of ND this past summer to raise funds for flood-ravaged Minot, ND. It's nice to know that they are together, at least for now. Rick used to pull the sled to work, work for 8 hours and than pull the sled home in preparation for Arrowhead, which was a 'day's work' of around 10 hours. Today in that 10 hour time frame, he traveled 36.7 miles to the first checkpoint - 'All in a day's work' PLUS 100 more miles to go! The conditions report was that the temperature reached a high of 25.4 today on the trail and is 17 degrees right now. The snow is very "bad" and is eating up about 20-30% of the efficiency of the toe off(that was from the college student, Ben). Rick mumbled something about beer and dancing girls before he said goodbye - I don't think he is starting to be sleep deprived yet.........????
Pray for a safe night for all runners and volunteers, Kristy

25 miles in

On the tracking page, it looks as though Rick is around the 25 mile mark of the race. You can view the participants check in and check out times from the three race checkpoints at the Arrowhead 135 Home page, click on 'Results' and then '2012 Results'. I received a picture at around 11:23 a.m. on my cell phone of some snow "art". It wasn't Rick's name, so he wasn't the culprit! The report at that time was that the trail was mushy. (huh, wonder why)
Word from the trail is: "12.5 degrees" at 8:52 a.m.
Posted by Kristy W.

Ready To Go

OK, thanks for following along. Knowing I have people following along at home/work is a huge boost when things get tough. We get started at 7:04 a.m. just after the bikes and skiers get going.

Trail conditions look pretty good considering the winter we've had. A little bit of grass and sticks showing through the snow but that really shouldn't have much of an impact. The snow I was on yesterday was firm though I would expect with the warmer temps it will loosen up. It's easy to forget that just because it will be 60 degrees warmer this year it really doesn't make it any easier. Just warmer and maybe safer. A different challenge. I'm ready to get going.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm going on a diet starting at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Busy Morning

Off for a group run this early a.m. before final packing and heading to I-Falls. Hope to get there mid to late afternoon for gear check.

Here is a neat story from MPR News on the Arrowhead 135.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trail Grooming

With the recent snow on the Arrowhead trail, the trails are being groomed in anticipation of a lot of snowmobilers that have been itching to get out all winter. They will tear up the trail though that is who the trail is there for and it will be better than pulling a sled over dirt. I'll take it.

I added a couple links relative to Arrowhead on the right hand side of the site. I have a satellite tracking device that I'll have with me throughout the event starting Monday morning, the event website as well as a couple maps to get a feel for where I am going.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snow on the Arrowhead

Recent snowfall over the entire 135 miles of trail we'll use next week has lifted the spirits of those of us participating in this years Arrowhead 135. As of last week, there were parts of the trail that had so little snow that there had been no snowmobile traffic at all and no trail grooming. The race officials have assured us that the event would go on no matter what the trail conditions are. At one point I was considering a bike to traverse the 135 miles but then decided if there was no snow I would put wheels on my sled. I'm glad it snowed. Once less thing to be concerned about.

I'm like most and peek at the long term forecast though I've learned that it rarely is something you can bank on. Last years evening lows of -38 and -41 below was definitely not in the forecast even the day before. Every year they've had the Arrowhead 135 it has dipped to -20 at some point during the event and I would expect that this year will not be an exception. Right now the forecast low is 7 above. I'm not buying it. No worries though, as always, I'll prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Please Joe Pesci

Bring the Arrowhead some snow.

Addition To The Family

I've never pressured anyone to run a full marathon. For the most part, I'll encourage them to get moving and maybe to do a little more than they are doing now but when someone tells me they are going to run a marathon, especially a family member, I always feel a little responsible for the suffering they will experience. I've even tried to talk them out of it.
When I was training to run my first marathon, everyone in my immediate family took it upon themselves to start running and be part of the Fargo Marathon experience. Kristy and the kids started their 5k training when it was really cold outside. The twins, Becky and Liz who were 10 years old at the time, would faithfully put on their coats and run up and down the block. They didn't want to. But even at 10 years old they new it was something they should do. And they did it mostly without complaint.
Our oldest daughter Allie was going to school in Michigan and did her training on her own. I'm not certain if she ever even asked me for any advice. She's pretty intelligent and I knew she'd figure it out.
Marathon day came and we all had a great time. More family members joined in the 5k and one even did the half marathon. 9 family members in all joined in the fun. It was a day of healing, so to speak, for our family. Making the most out of losing a loved one to obesity. I know big brother Gene would be proud of our accomplishments.
Though Becky and Liz have hung up their running shoes, at least for now, Kristy and Allie continue to run. Mostly with no real goals but to help stay fit and maybe just to clear their mind. For 5 weeks, Allie walked 500 miles across Spain one summer so we know she has some endurance. They both ran a couple of half marathons and though they had good experiences, doubted they'd ever go further. I doubted it too and was totally cool with that. Although a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone. The full marathon is all together different.
Much to my surprise they both started training for a full marathon. Allie ended up with an injury that kept her from hers but Kristy ran Fargo last year and did great. A few months pass and Allie told us she was training to run a marathon in January. I'm sure she felt a need to step up to the plate and get it done being her Mom had already done one though there was no pressure from us.
I was kind of stunned when she asked me for my opinion on the training plan she was considering. Like I said, she's pretty intelligent but I forgot to mention, independent. Being she was asking, I knew it was something that she had looked hard at, made sense to her, but was much different than the conventional marathon training that she heard me talk about. The one she was looking at had the longest long run of 16 miles. As which is normally the case for me, I pointed out the facts and let her make her own decision. One of the facts I pointed out to her is that this is the type of marathon/ultra-marathon training that I had been doing for the past few years. Though I pointed out the benefits to getting a few runs in over the 20 mile mark, she opted for the 16 mile long run program. I predicted, though not to her, that she'd finish but it would really be a struggle.
I only got to run one long run with her when she was home over Christmas and when it was over she looked fresh. Even so, as a parent, I was concerned that her preparation wouldn't be adequate to keep her from the inevitable suffering that comes with the marathon. It was too late now. She was on the downside of her training and with only a couple weeks to go there wasn't much you could do. Cramming for a marathon just does not work.
I've always said that my kids are way more intelligent than me. Maybe not smarter, as they haven't lived as long as I have, but they seem to be able to figure things out much more easily than I do. I've had to learn most things the hard way and that is not what you want for your kids. So going into the marathon yesterday, I thought that Allie was going to get a life lesson the hard way. Should have listened to Dad. Though I didn't pressure her, I did try to persuade her to use a conventional training plan for her first marathon. She didn't and I though she'd pay for it.
I predicted a 4:30 with lots of suffering the last 6 or 7 miles. As it turned out, I was way off. She ran a 4:11 running the second half 1 minute faster than the first. She said that she never hit the wall and didn't start thinking "This needs to be over now" until somewhere around the 23-24 mile mark. Kind of amazing when you think that is 7-8 miles further than she'd ever run at that point. I've had marathons that I trained well for that I was wanting over by 18 miles. But then, I seem to have a need to learn things the hard way. I guess I'll have to start learning more from my kids.
Though I don't carry much pride in my own accomplishments, giving credit to help from above and always thinking that I have yet to do my very best, I am so proud of my family and friends in their accomplishments even though I've had little to do with their success. Maybe it's just that I helped to get them moving.
Welcome to the marathon family Al. I'm so proud of you. No matter what direction your steps in life take you, you now know that you are unstoppable.