Tag Archives: Pine to Palm

Pine to Palm – DUN!!!!

Press the Play Button, turn up the volume and enjoy (Queen – We Are The Champions)!

Wow!  Can you believe that it has been almost two weeks since the Pine to Palm 100.5 Mile Endurance Run was held?  More surprisingly, can you believe that I FINISHED!  It wasn’t pretty and my quads were trashed, but 30 hours and 40 minutes after Hal gave the go signal, I crossed the finish line.  The feet do not lie!


In the Beginning….

But let us backtrack a few days.  It was not much of a secret…I was making excuses and planning my failure.  I made these thoughts known, not only to myself, but others as well.  I wanted no one to be surprised if I DNF’d…  I had recently recovered from a third injury, all of  which had severely hampered my training.  So much so, that I actually contemplated dropping.  However, the early booking of the airline ticket and hotels kept me committed as I already had too much skin in the game!

My Thoughts….

I could bore you with random thoughts, memories and general ramblings, but I will spare you and get to the point of this blog.

I want to thank so many people who were responsible for my completing this event but, first and foremost would be my wife, Caryn Lerman.  Caryn does not run and does not necessarily understand why I have become somewhat obsessed with such endeavors.  But nonetheless, without her support, this would not have been possible.

By the way, are you aware that you can purchase a pie shake at Shari’s, in Grant’s Pass?  Just ask my co-runner Gene Dykes who ordered one.  I could only envision Dan Aykroyd doing the Bass-o-Matic skit on Saturday Night Live!

But I digress….

Pacers and Crew: Dan Roed and Erin Fitzgerald were invaluable!  As a result of Dan’s previous running and crewing of this race, his guidance, insight and logistical support were invaluable.  Moreover, it was knowing that Dan and Erin would meet me at critical Aid Stations along the way that kept me going.  I also want to give a special shout out to Erin for agreeing to pace me from Dutchman Peak onward.  I think she envisioned ‘running’.  However, by that time, my quads were trashed resulting in almost 12 hours of hiking to the finish!  Erin, thanks for your company and continuous positive attitude!

Here is an example of the wisdom dispensed by Dan as I came into Squaw Lake:

Dan and the Crew:  What do you need? Water bottles filled?  Gels?

Me: yes.  Wow, look at those grapes, I’ll try a few.

Dan:  Here, try some of the cherry tomatoes as well.

Me: ok.

Me: My socks are dirty and wet, I want to change into a clean pair.  Dan, what do you think?

Dan: Suck it up.. Keep going.. Don’t waste time… (adlibbing)

(See Dan and Erin below)


Wisdom of the Elites

During the race, I would play certain sayings or visions over and over in my head, here are a few:

SpeedGoat Karl Meltzer: “A 100 miles is not that far….”  Really???

Rob Krar’s Beard…..

Tim Olson’s Hair…..

Kasie Enman’s feet after placing 2nd in the women’s division at the SpeedGoat 50K.. Did you see the pic of her feet following the race?  If Kasie could push through on those feet, I never had a reason to complain!  Check it out below:


And the words that Hal penned into my copy of his book:  “Troy, making it through this book is the hard part.  Running is fun.  Happy Trails. Hal”.  Several times during the race, it would be these words that would sustain me….’Running is fun…Running is fun…’

The Real Ultra Runners.. The Non-Elites

It is this group from whom I have gleaned the most wisdom and inspiration.  Unlike the group above, these people are ‘human’ like me!

I must begin this list with an acknowledgement of Clyde Aker.  Clyde is a man on the older side.  Clyde was also responsible for marking the 100 miles of trails.   Still to this day, I’m not quite sure how it happened, but Clyde and I passed one another several times and each time I would say ‘great job marking the trail Clyde’.  Marking this trail was no small feat and one that should not go unrewarded!

No list of revered ultra runners would be complete without the name Chris Jones.  I do not know Chris well, but as well as one can know anyone via Face Book, texting and the occasional phone call.  I find Chris to be an amazing ultra runner.  A real inspiration and he carries himself as if it is all not a big deal.  Let me recap 2014 for you – HURT 100, Angeles Crest, 100, Cascade Crest 100 and Pine to Palm 100….  Chris provided two crucial pieces of advice: 1) bring poles and 2) practice power hiking.  This advice would prove crucial to my completing this race.

Nick Ferrera is one of the few local ultra runners that I know.  This year alone, Nick has completed Western States, Eastern States and is going to top off 2014 with the Grindstone!  Nick is an everyday guy with a job and a family.  Someone with whom I can relate and draw strength.

Gina Chupka is a runner relatively new to ultra running scene.  We met last year during the Pine Creek Challenge; the first 100 miler for each of us.  Since that time, Gina has embraced ultra running with a vengeance and has become someone to admire.

The many runners that I had the pleasure to meet before, during and after the race: Tim Roush, Martin Whitcomb, Sandy Purtle, Lucas Lyons, Scott Dunlap, Steve Collins, etc.  Thank you so  much for the company and inspiration.

I must also give a shout out to Pat Travis, affectionately known as P-Bot.  P-Bot certificate toting Sommelier working for FranksWine.  P-Bot is not what you would call a natural runner.  But nonetheless, he has signed up to run his first marathon in Chicago.  P-Bot’s  dedication and determination has been an inspiration.  Go P-Bot!

Lastly, this race really comes down to the superb aid station volunteers!  I have no names, but they were so helpful and attentive.  This group of people who chose to volunteer their time are the epitome of what all volunteering is all about.  Thank you for your time, pleasant attitude, and helpfulness!

Thanks to all of you mentioned and those that I’ve forgotten to mention.


Moving Beyond My First DNF

As many of you know, I received my very first DNF at the SpeedGoat 50K on July 19th.  Although, I was somewhat disappointed that I missed an aid station cutoff, I was not terribly upset.  Like most people who have failed, you want to look back, reflect and learn from that failure.  In this instance, I concluded the following:

  1. Even though I was consuming 2 bottles of water between aid stations, I was still battling dehydration which significantly slowed my pace during the 2nd half of the race;
  2. You can never do to much hill work.  The 5 – 9 mile long climbs  to the top of mountains was unrelenting;
  3. Hiking poles appeared to be of great assistance to many especially during the latter stages of the race; and
  4. It is very hard from someone training at sea level to not struggle at altitude.  As noted in my previous blog, only about 4% of those who finished were not from the arid mountainous west.

So, as I ponder my Lessons Learned and use them to prepare for the upcoming Pine to Palm 100, I have discovered that I may be more sensitive to the DNF than I originally thought.  As the days have passed, I have picked up my training and have had very good runs.  However, I have a ‘good friend’ who has been somewhat unrelenting in his teasing and ridicule.  I have requested that he refrain from the negativity; however his actions persist.  It is only now, that I am questioning myself.

Can I complete the Pine to Palm without a DNF?  I know the Pine to Palm will be hard regardless of how much training one has endured.  I also know, that without the dedication there is little chance of success.  More importantly, without a positive attitude, the chances of success are greatly diminished.

Therefore, I will continue to train.  I will remain focused.  I will reduce the negativity.  I will, take one more step….one more step…one more step….