By Matt Mahoney
Cocoa Beach FL, out and back on the beach, sunny and 80 F. Figured I could walk the first 12 miles and run the rest, but the sand turned soft about where I started running. Ended up walking half of the last 6 miles too.
Sunny and 74 F. Beach conditions change each year, and this year the first 8 miles of sand was soft. Pain in hip flexor and knee. Started 5 minutes late.
1/4 mile track, Titusville FL. Late again, by 1 hour. I registered day of race and found they changed the starting time. Right hamstring and arch were sore, which I later traced to worn shoes. I didn't notice during the race but it was obvious the next time I wore them.
The ascent climbs 13.4 miles from Colorado Springs at 6280 ft. to Pikes Peak at 14,110 ft on trail. The marathon is the next day, out and back (actually 26.3 miles, which makes it an ultra). I spent a week in Colorado mostly at 6000-8000 ft, so I was not well acclimated to the altitude. I had a headache after the ascent and a wet cough for 2 hours after the marathon, early signs of pulmonary edema. On the way down in the marathon, I stopped to pull a sharp stone out of my shoe only to discover there was no stone but a half-dollar size blister on my heel that had popped.
Key Largo to Key West FL on the narrow shoulder of a busy highway. It was 68 F, 100% humidity at night, 80's and sunny the next day. Started at 5 PM with a 31 hour cutoff. I dropped at noon at the 100 km aid station with swollen feet that made even a slow walk extremely painful. An hour later I was fine. Only 25 of 55 finished, and the race was never held again.
Quitting, admitting failure, was the hardest thing I had done. A DNF gets no mention in the results. I had to turn in my race number, the one that I would have added to my collection for every race I had ever run since my first 5K in 1986. I was determined to try again.
Ran barefoot and got huge blood blisters on my toes.
Palm Bay FL, 1/4 mile track, sunny, 88 F, humid. Dehydrated and down 5 pounds even though urine was clear and frequent. Problem was salt depletion. Went home for 8 hours, recovered, ran 16 miles in last 3 hours.
Mostly mountain trails in Colorado at 9200-12,600 ft, good weather. Pushed hard to make the 50 mile turnaround cutoff of 14 hours by 2 minutes, then had nothing left. On the return climb up Hope Pass (2600 ft. in 2 miles) I climbed 100 feet, sat down, and refused to go on. There was nothing physically wrong. The next day it felt as if nothing had happened.
Brooksville FL, soft trail, 4 laps, 72-85 F. Tested 4 pairs of shoes (including sandals) for next month race...
...and decided on 6 oz. Mizuno XC racing flats with hard soles and rubber spikes. Big mistake on a rocky course. Both ankles were swollen after 20 miles, could not run after 50, then hip flexor inflamed. Dropped at 70 miles after 21 1/2 hours. Rained all day.
Good recovery. Ran a 3:37 marathon next week.
Barefoot again, but with tape on toes to prevent blisters. Really works the calves.
Sarasota FL, absolutely flat grassy trail.
Frozen Head TN, incredibly tough, unmarked 20 mile loop, no aid, no markings, 10,000 ft. of climb per loop, unmaintained wooded trail, sawbriers, many 50% grades and sections without trail and terrible footing. Ran first loop in 11:40, then had 29:45 at 40 miles, missing the 26:40 cutoff. The 60 miler had 39 starters and 6 finishers under the 40 hour cutoff. Mark Williams of England became the first in the 10 year history of the race to finsh the 100, in 59:28.
75 miles of dirt roads, 25 of trail, run in conjunction with a 100 mile horse race. Very scenic, rural area, 14,000 ft. of rolling hills, 65-85 F. Quads stiff for about 4 days afterwards.
Rain, 45-50 F, only 40% finished. Spent 2 weeks in CO and climbed 5 14,000 ft. peaks, so I was ready for the altitude. Blisters on backs of both heels caused trouble in last 25 miles, but surprisingly very little muscle stiffness afterwards.
Anterior tibialis inflamed after 40 miles. Took 12X recommended dose of ibuprophin and was limping for 10 days after race. Great food though, didn't use drop bags.
Ran a 10K race 90 minutes earlier, then ran the beach race in aqua socks.
40's F and rain. No finishers in 100, only 2 of 24 finished 60 including Mark Williams. Made 30 miles in 23 hours, dropped with sore achilles, caused by overextending it climbing Little Hell, 1500 ft. in 0.6 miles.
On my first attempt at Barkley and having read about its history, I had little expectation of finishing. This year was different, and I thought I could do it. Oh, how quickly we forget. The Barkley doesn't care how tough or determined you think you are, it just whittles away at your will until nothing is left.
Climbing to Garden Spot.
Inspired by Barkley, I designed this trail course myself, though I was unable to find any hills in Melbourne Florida. Temps over 90 F. No finishers in the 50, and only 2 of 9 finished the marathon. Gary (Barkley RD) would be proud. I set the marathon course record of 7:33, then dropped after 33 miles (in 9:40) after everyone else went home.
Caught giardia after drinking out of streams and treating the water with year-old iodine tablets that had turned black. At least I had the symptoms; I didn't see a doctor. Giardia is an intestinal parasite that interferes with fat digestion, kind of like eating Olestra. Lots of gas and diahrrea for a couple of weeks.
Laural Highlands is a point to point trail in western Pennsylvania, hilly, 4 aid stations, crew required in case you DNF (40% do) and need a ride. Gerry Wales crewed for me.
Officially there were 4 starters and 1 finisher (Frozen Ed) on this jeep trail loop at 8000-12,600 ft. Dave Cooper and his 8 year old son Lane and I deliberatly detoured up Handies Peak (14,048 ft) and hitched a ride back.
Usually Pikes Peak and Leadville are the same weekend, so I took advantage of a rare opportunity. I was well acclimated after a week of hiking portions of the Hardrock 100 course at 10,000-14,000 ft. I was surprised to have muscle soreness afterwards in my hamstrings instead of my quads.
Good weather, 50% finished. Lane paced me for 24 miles after his father DNF'ed. Made the 86 mile cutoff by 1 minute.
I included this since I ran a combined 33 miles. My wife Joan and I entered the Ironman-length race as a relay, with me swmming 2.4 miles and running the marathon while she biked 112 miles in between. During her bike ride I raced the Mini-Floridian - swim 1 mile, bike 30, run 7. I did not recover very well from this and ran the marathon in about 5 hours. Nevertheless, we still won first place coed-masters-relay (out of 1). It also did not help that I broke a finger the day before the race and swam 3.4 miles with a splint on my right pinky made of coat hanger wire and tape that kept falling apart in the water.
Still wearing that stupid splint.
Slowest ever. Had a cold, stomach cramps, diahrrea. At least my finger was OK.
That's more like it.
Eric Robinson descending the east basin of Mt. Huron, 14,003 ft.
Mark Henderson (foreground).
Headed towards Mosquito Pass at 13,150 ft.
Oscar's Pass in the distance.
Exploring alternate routes in training on Mt. Princeton.
Descending Mt. Princeton.
Steve Simmons climbing Rat Jaw.
Descending the Powerline road from Sugarloaf, 11,200 ft.
South Mineral Creek, 98 miles to go.
Photo by Jim Bodoh.
North Boundary Trail.
Climbing Testacle Spectacle.
Also the Copper Mountain marathon on 7/9/06 in 4:49, but these aren't really ultras except for being on dirt roads at high altitude.
The start at 10,200 ft., lowest point in the race.
13,000 ft. Virginius Pass in a dry year.
Got to the start 14 minutes late and missed second place (or first male) by 7 minutes.
Finished second out of 11 starters and 5 finishers. The race is a clockwise loop on the levee around the lake, flat, 83 miles of pavement and 35 miles of dirt roads. Ran PRs at 50 miles (8:50) and 100 miles (about 20:50), but I hadn't trained for the last 18.
Photo by Sandra Turner. Left to right: Richard Sitter, Joseph Ninke, John Turner (won in 25:28), Matt Mahoney (2nd in 26:55), Mike Melton, Thomas Moore, Trishul Cherns (3rd in 30:35), Stu Abcug (4th in 30:57), and race director Scott Maxwell (saying "go"). Three others started early.
First I made a wrong turn early in the race and ran 3 extra miles, then at mile 40 (or 43) I was attacked by tendonitis around the right knee and had to walk the last 10 miles :-( But the weather was perfect, 50-70F and sunny. :-)
Quit after 30 miles in stage 2.
Missed the 48 hour cutoff by 28 seconds.
6'th of 74 starters and 59 finishers.
4'th of 20 starters and 9 finishers.
75 miles on a hot day.
One 20 mile loop in 12:17.
plus 37 miles in stage 2.
57 miles in 27:51.
Climbing the easy side of Grant-Swamp pass.
Actually 32.5 miles due to bad navigation.
Stage 1, 50 miles in 12:13. Stage 2, 22 miles.
82 miles in 39:02, cutoff was 39:00.
Nobody finished, but I went the furthest at 23 miles.
10'th of 74 runners. Heat index was over 100.
Splits. Went out fast and paid later.
20 miles in 16:18, about 3 hours over the cutoff.
50 miles in 12:16 on day 1, 18 miles on day 2.
South side of Hope Pass.
Fourth overall and first 50-59.
Last finisher. photos report.
50 miles in 10:45 on day 1, 30 miles on day 2.
50 miles in 14:20. photos.
8'th of 71 finishers, first 50-59.
13'th of 58 finishers.
20 miles in 18:46. photos
Includes 2 bonus miles.
Matt Mahoney's Home Pagemattmahoneyfl@gmail.com