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I’ve never been one for writing up race reports. It’s not that I don’t want to write one, truth is I’m just forgetful and I never get around to it. This is what happened to my Bandera 50K race report. Bandera was no joke. A beautiful course over some of the most blistering terrain you can imagine. If any of you are looking for a challenge I highly recommend this race for splitting your skull open. Unless you have done some traveling to that part of Texas you literally have no clue what you are getting yourself into. Within the first mile I had cursed everyone I could possibly think of and it did absolutely nothing to help the situation. Bandera is a dangerous course if you are not prepared, so if anyone is up for the challenge please do your homework and get wasted. That way when you are passed out you can mentally project what it is like to run over boulders and cacti, as you will get none of that type of training here.
To read the full race report, please click here
MARIPOSA
(A mongoose gets his wings)
“Once I had a dream that I was a butterfly, and I woke up and I was a man. Or, could it be that I am a butterfly still asleep dreaming that I am a man?” (Lao Tzu)
When I was small, OK I’m still small, so when I was a young boy riding with my mother in the car, every time we would see a butterfly she would tell me that it was a sign that God was with us. She explained that the butterfly was a representation of Jesus and his resurrection and gift of everlasting life. I never forgot that.
Well, when training/running the trails, I am constantly surrounded by butterflies. I always smile when I see them on the trail and know that I am never alone, even out in the middle of “no mans land” all by myself. I know that God is with me. My good friend, Dr. Gary Ross, a world renowned Lepidopterist (fancy booklearnin word for butterfly expert), told me that the reason I see them in droves from time to time on the trail is that they emerge at certain temperatures from their cocoons.
All I know, is the sense of comfort and well being I get whenever I see one on the trail. Because deep down I envy them. They effortlessly roam the trails, floating over the hills, roots, and other obstacles. If only I could be like them.
The life journey of a butterfly is very similar to the journey of an ultrarunner from couch to belt buckle (yes, that is what you get for running 100 miles…a belt buckle). You see, the butterfly starts its lifes journey on its belly, crawling, barely making headway as an ugly caterpillar (like I was 6 months ago before beginning my training). With patience and time (training) the caterpillar dreams of the day he will get his wings. Finally, he goes into his cocoon or chrysalis (taper) and prays that he will emerge with beautiful and powerful wings. Finally, that day arrives, the temperature just right and he emerges and takes to the air (race day).

To read the full race report, please click here
(Thanks Lafayette Fitness for hosting the mother)

These are some shots giving insight to the Rocky Raccoon.
The young feminine version of Smitty, Emma, snatched the hardware
even before Smitty, Brad and Keith started their brutal, long and cold 100 mile battle.
If you think this is cool, just wait till Smitty’s race-report shows up on this site….

Smitty Smith: 21 hours
Brad Delcambre: 28:49 hrs
Keith Manuel: 28:49hrs

AMAZING!!!

Congratulations to all, safe travels home! Who Dat???
__________________________

Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler; A Race Report by Brad W Delcambre

I’ve never been one for writing up race reports. It’s not that I don’t want to write one, truth is I’m just forgetful and I never get around to it. This is what happened to my Bandera 50K race report. Bandera was no joke. A beautiful course over some of the most blistering terrain you can imagine. If any of you are looking for a challenge I highly recommend this race for splitting your skull open. Unless you have done some traveling to that part of Texas you literally have no clue what you are getting yourself into. Within the first mile I had cursed everyone I could possibly think of and it did absolutely nothing to help the situation. Bandera is a dangerous course if you are not prepared, so if anyone is up for the challenge please do your homework and get wasted. That way when you are passed out you can mentally project what it is like to run over boulders and cacti, as you will get none of that type of training here.

Now, off to the main course, this report is about Rocky Raccoon. It’s hard to summarize such an experience, especially when one is not a literary genius, (That means I don’t right so good.). The journey is not unlike Ironman, and the indestructible feeling of personal accomplishment, gratitude, and happiness last for days once complete.

Prerace: My training consisted of a whole crap load of running and eating an unfathomable amount of unhealthy food all while drinking enough alcohol to kill a small village. I don’t know what it was about this race that got me on this type of training regiment but it worked and I was still able to lose weight in the process. (For legality purposes I do not specifically condone this type of behavior)
My taper sucked, as usual. It’s just never any fun and about a week before the race the nervous system began going into overdrive. I had no idea what to expect, only stories, myths, and fairytales of the elusive 100 that lied before me. I was beyond nervous, and nothing was comforting. I stopped by Smitty’s house a few days before and saw all of his bags properly labeled with everything he was going to need, Mongoose definitely had a game plan. I knew any plan that I had would be null and void the second I started running so I used the play it by ear method. Actually slept pretty good the night before the race, all things considered. Smitty actually told me either I wasn’t nervous race morning or I had one hell of a poker face.

Loop 1: The first loop wasn’t so bad. Legs were a little stiff but I felt good. Keith and I kept a good pace. The only negative I have about the first loop is a wrong turn we took. I was following a group of runners that were in front of me and as it turns out we weren’t supposed to go that way. It added about 15 minutes to our total time. My legs were fresh so I tried not to let it get to me. I felt my nutrition was right and everything seemed to be going ok.

Loop 2: This is the loop where everything started going downhill. I started getting very nauseous and any types of sugary substances were not settling well. This can happen if your heart rate is very high for extended periods of time but I knew my heart rate was low as we were not running very fast. We still managed to stay on a great pace despite the issues.
Loop 3: The nausea had finally felt like it was going away until Mother Nature began calling me into the woods. I had to make 4 trips before my body said there was nothing left. I was eating Pepto-Bismol tablets as if they were candy. I still couldn’t eat much but after 60 miles my stomach finally decided to settle down. This loop also began to teach my body why this distance is so difficult. Around this time your body begins to feel the effects from the constant pounding of the ground. My legs began to ache, not in a muscular sense; it was my knees and feet. We lost some time on this loop and realized it would be a battle for the remaining 40 miles

Loop 4: Running at night in the woods sucks, plain and simple. You are constantly staring at your feet. When I would look up to see the beautiful night sky my equilibrium would get out of wack… so I didn’t do that anymore. My stomach felt great but the pain in my knees and feet started to become unbearable. You can feel it in your bones, every step you take is painful. It didn’t matter whether I was running or walking the pain was the same. At this point Keith and I were about 30 miles from finishing. We knew we could walk the rest of the way and still make the cutoff. I felt I could continue to run at a snail pace but honestly was a little scared. If I kept running I felt like I could seriously injure myself and have to take a few months off to recover. Around that time we saw Smitty who so graciously said “relax and enjoy the race”. I didn’t know how much enjoyment I could get out of the pain I was experiencing, but I did know the enjoyment I would get out of crossing that finish line. Keith and I pretty much agreed to take it in as slow as possible. We were going to buckle whether we came in at 25 or 30 hours.

Loop 5: We picked up John Fell and my buddy Kristin Wilson at the last aid station on the previous loop. They decided to come meet us with 5 miles left. I had called Kristin and he could hear we were struggling. The Dynamic Duo came to our aid with some moral support and decided to help us walk it in. We walked virtually the entire 5th loop. I wish I could tell you that the pain went away, as you would think from walking, but it didn’t. It was still a struggle, every single step of the way. Mile 92 was Dam Road aid station for the last time. It was at this moment I noticed I was tripping and not in a metaphorical way, I mean literally. My vision was impaired to the point I felt like I had taken a few doses of LSD. Around mile 93 we witnessed a guy stop to smoke a cigarette, still in astonishment on that one. I told Keith that we had started together and we were going to finish together. 28 hours and we walked the line at the same time. I felt the happiness overwhelm me as I practically collapsed to the ground, teary eyed and with buckle in hand.

Wow, what an experience. The pain and suffering endured during a 100 miler is a true testament to one’s character and willpower. I know this type of challenge is not for everyone, but for those who do wish to toe the line, I only ask for you to be true to yourself and your passion in life. You can not be afraid to fail, and you can not allow negative comments from others dictate your course of events. I do this because I welcome the challenge, I want to know my limits, and I want to know I am alive. I welcome the unbearable punishment for that brief moment of elation, knowing I just accomplished something that so many deem impossible.
Many great thanks go out to all who have helped me along my journey, starting out from my very first steps when I decided to start running. The day was May 5, 2005 and I remember it as if it were yesterday. Mark Miller, you are the man. Without your expertise and the inspiration I have received from your many years of Ironman, I would not have continued in the sport. Smitty, what can I say, you are a beast. I will follow in your footsteps no matter the challenge. Any day, anywhere, you name it and you can count on me; you will not tread the path alone. Keith, I am proud to have you as a friend. You have been there with me every step of the way; sharing with me some of my greatest accomplishments in life. Ironman and ultras alike, I would undoubtedly follow you into battle any day. Kristin Wilson, a true friend and pacer. Thank you for being there for me. We’ve been through a lot, but this meant more to me than words can describe. I am glad I got to share that with you. John Fell thanks for being a pacer as well. This guy was full of jokes and songs but after 24 hours of running I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or punch him. All jokes aside, it was very welcomed and appreciated, you helped make the best out of a flight or fight situation. Very special and most important thanks go out to my family. Without their help, support, and eagerness to deal with my insanity none of this would have been possible. I truly love you all.

Sitting on top of the world and waiting to race across the sky,

Brad W. Delcambre



Brad ‘Granolabar’ Delcambre and Smitty ‘Mongoose’ Smith, along with Keith ‘Pappy’ Manuel,
-(pappy was not available for the photo shoot)-
are gearing up for
the Huntsville “Rocky Raccoon” 100 Mile Run
to be held Saturday 02-06-10
Wishing you guys a great run (for 20+ hours) and safe travels!

Smitty Smith won first place in his age group (40-49).
He placed 10th overall with his time being 4:52!
Unofficially (not confirmed as of yet)
Keith “Pappy” Manuel won first place in his age group (50-59).
This was accomplished in 10 degrees temperatures at the start of the race…
Congratulations from ALL of us at PRECISION BIKES!

This information reached me at 6:00AM this morning,
straight from Bandera,TX.

The picture was taken in the brand new Tahoe, owned by Pappy!
Yes your eyes are OK, 10 degrees and no sunshine in sight as of yet….
Pappy pre-heated his Gatorade in the microwave,
just to prevent getting his tongue stuck frozen to the nipple!
Smitty’s reply to my txt msg “Be safe”…..:
“Safe sucks, massive erected -explicit-,
got my toe in the ice, my a$$ in a cactus, frozen gatorade in my hand;
Life is good today….”
___________
Final results:
Smitty Smith: 4:52
Keith “Pappy” Manuel: 6:02
Brad “Granola Bar” Delcambre: 6:04
Congratulations guys!!!
Safe travel wishes for your ride home;)

We’re always getting “why”?, as all of you get.
As to why we do an
ironman, triathlon, century, metric100, time-trial, marathon, or some a 5k.
Nonetheless, we all get it.
I’ve been pondering it for some time and my attempt at an answer is found below.

“What is to give light…must endure burning”

I always get the question, either to my face or behind my back, “why would someone want to run that far?” He must be crazy or have issues. While both of those statements are very true, they are not the answer as to why. I’ve thought long and hard on my runs and in my idle time as to “WHY”. Below is a short treatise on what I think is WHY.

Are we a measure of what we are? Or, is our true measure found in what we are not? In truth, wisdom comes when we realize just how much we don’t know and temper ourselves.

Somewhere along the way, we, humans, have forgotten that we are animals. We ignore our limbic systems and primal ways in the name of humanity and what others might think about us. It is not conscience that makes cowards of us all but society and “fitting in”.

As I stated before….God made me for a purpose and when I run…I feel his pleasure (stolen quote). I feel that primal instinct that man felt so long ago as he ran through the woods in search of food, a new home, or a mate. Trail running brings me there and ultra trail running lets me explore my limits – one day – God willing – I will find out my true measure. Funny thing is, I doubt it will be at the finish line of a 100 plus mile run at high altitude, but standing in front of HIM (hopefully at a real high altitude). Nonetheless, I will continue to look for my breaking point and what I am not…in order to find out who I truly am.

Not too often, but often enough, I get to feel the transcendence on a long run. It’s a point where I feel like I am floating or being carried as I run, weightless if you will. It reminds me of a Bible verse and song I sing to myself when I’m in pain, “He will raise you up, as if on eagles wings”. Some have called this the runners “high”, where endorphins, the bodies own painkillers kick in full force. Forget all the science, for me, It’s when I feel HIS pleasure!

I can’t speak for the other idiots that run with me over the terrain and distances that I attempt to traverse, but that in a nutshell that is “WHY” I do what I do. There are other small reasons too, like when I see someone confined to a wheelchair or struggling to walk down the street. I can still run and I’ll be damned if I won’t. I do it because I can. Like Sir Edmund Hillary on Everest when asked why he climbed her, he simply stated, “because she was there”.

So, lace ‘em up, or get on that bike and go find your limits and what you will find is that there are no limits. Only those in your mind. The brain, our central governor, it’s what keeps us from killing ourselves by placing “limits” on us. Fatigue, pain, and reasoning are all part of its’ arsenal. Ignore these, turn off the governor and explore your true self, you will be surprised at what you find on the other side. For years man believed the 4 minute mile impossible, then they broke it, now any miler worth a damn can shatter it. Nothing has changed, except “believing”.

To truly know who you are, you better go find out who you are not. The usefulness of a glass is not in the glass itself, but in the emptiness within. You will never know just how useful until you overflow that glass.

-Zen Mongoose Out!
(Enough writing – I’ve got a trail to go run mate)
-Smitty Smith-

Bandera
100km & 50km & 25km
Bandera Texas – 9 Jan 2010
7:30am Sat – (24hr limit) – 7:30am Sun

Keith ‘Pappy’ Manuel, Brad ‘Granola Bar’ Delcambre, Smitty Smith and Mark Miller
will be out in the cold on trails, through hills and valleys
for 50K this Saturday morning in Bandera, TX!
Wishing you guys safe travel and an epic run.

We made another trip to Chicot this weekend (20 mile run) in preparation for a 50K run in Bandera Texas. Of the group going this is my first, Brad Delcambre’s 2nd and Keith Manuel’s 2nd, the legend of the group is Smitty Smith who has a 100 miler under his belt. All three of the other guys are signed up for the Leadville 100 miler which is one of if not the hardest 100 milers in the country. The trail was pretty good today and all the guys were running well. Smitty is as ready as he can be for this one. He will PR his best time at this distance, he did not say this, I am saying he is running really well. Also with us today in the lead on his mountain bike was Cole Leblanc who has burst onto the scene in both Triathlon and Mountain Biking. His bike will need a good washing!
We had a great trip and we are looking forward to next weekend.