Blog changes

Thanks to everyone who followed Training Because I Can! over the last nine years. This blog started with Addison's Disease, hypothyroidism and a crazy idea of doing an Ironman distance triathlon. My life has changed and so has this blog. I am using this blog strictly for Addison's Support topics from here on out. I hope to continue providing people with hints for living life well with adrenal insufficiency.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Backyard Ultra where friends are family


My wonderful friends who make me laugh and laugh and laugh until I pee my pants.
Shannon, on the left, is who I ran with a Vol State this year.  Tim, on the right, is one of the guys with whom I did a loop at Barkley (he completed 100 miles in 24 hours at this race
Photo credit:  John Price?

Last weekend, I had a quick trip up to Bell Buckle, Tennessee to run in Big's Backyard Ultra.  It was a crazy, quick trip for me.  I don't usually drive so far, run far, camp and hurry home.  Luckily, it all went well and my recovery was quick.  I am finally learning how to manage the Addison's, train in a way that works for me and recover faster than in the past.

The drive was 750 miles each way.  For me, that's a lot of miles.  On top of that, I decided to drive through Atlanta, Georgia during rush hour.  An eleven hour drive turned into fourteen.  I slept in the back of the car since it was entirely too late to set up a tent (for lazy me).  Finally, I planned OK.  The race wasn't until Saturday.  Driving happened on Thursday.

Friday morning, JP and I met in Manchester, Tennessee headed over to where the race was being held.

Gary Cantrell (AKA Lazarus Lake)
 leaning against my car.  The 314 sticker
 is from Vol State, another one of his races


I got my race number.  The only time I'm first is
when it's the food line or packet pickup

I have a feeling that this is the bugle that's played at the
end of a Barkley loop when you quit.  It was
 casually tossed in the back seat of the race director's car 

The night before the race, nearly everyone went to Sir Pizza.  However, Gary and Mark Williams and I went to a Thai restaurant.  Mark Williams was the very first person to complete five loops at Barkley.  I was in Ultra Dork Heaven while having dinner with them.  One of many highlights of this race.

The race started the following morning.  Just a word about the race.  It's...unconventional.  Each hour, on the hour, a 4.166 mile race started.  In order to start the next loop, you had to finish the last loop in 59:59 or less.  You were not allowed to start the next loop until the bell was rung.  Tough for the fast guys and gals because they had to pace themselves much more slowly than people like me who were pushing themselves to complete each and every lap in time.  The fast people didn't want to finish too fast because it was cool and they would get cold before the next lap started if they finished too quickly.  If you're slow, you need time to drink, eat and pee before the next loop started.  It was a delicate balancing act for all of us!  

There were 38 starters and the race continued for 35 hours until Tim Englund was the last man standing!  Once again, it was an honor to toe the line with the woman who holds the record for most 100s completed in a year (Liz Bauer), Ray K, transcontinental runners, the first Barkely finisher (Mark Williams) a fifteen time MMT100 finisher (Keith Knippling) and Marcy Beard who was the last woman standing two years in a row (30 hours this year, 27 last) and others who have done amazing, amazing things.

I finished seven loops in the time limit and completed the 8th :05 over.  I was so happy with my results.  Pathetic, I know.  The course was about .5 on road/driveway and 3.6 on hilly, fun trail.  I got more elevation gain and loss in eight hours than I've had since July when I did Vol State.  I miss trail and loved every minute on it talking to friends and making new ones.

The start of one of the early loops at the Backyard Ultra
Photo credit:  Lisa Bliss
After I DNFed, I decided to crew for Mark Williams.  Being the polite Englishman that he is, it took several loops for him to loosen up and start asking me for help.  I had a great crewing position.  I was in a spot where there were three hardcore guys.  Mark was totally prepared but a little scattered in an "I'm not sure what I'm going to need but I've got everything I'll need" kind of way, Jim Ball just had EVERYTHING on a couple of big tables, Mark L had nearly nothing, needed nothing and was frequently texting between loops!  I helped Mark for the last five minutes of each hour up until I went to sleep (yes, I'm a lazy volunteer crew) and got up to help him at my usual early waking time.  

This is how the time between loops was spent.
"Corn off the cobb" was passed around.
We laughed hysterically while trying to keep warm eating chili and brats

Crewing Mark in the early morning hours
Photo credit:  Ray K

Most importantly, Addison's info.  I skipped my Florinef the morning of the race in anticipation of the large quantity of mineralocorticoid I would get in the large doses of HC I took.  I got foot cramps later in the race and supplemented salt so I'm not sure skipping Florinef was the best idea.  For the first time ever, I took ten mg of HC per hour.  WOW!!!!!!!!!  I felt great and performed great for the first six loops.  To those of you with steroid guilt and fear, don't project on me.  I wasn't all hopped up or anything.  I felt NORMAL.  I didn't have stomach issues for one of the first times ever  I was able to keep drinking water and eating for the entire eight hours and lost weight instead of swelling up disgustingly and gaining five pounds.  After I was done, I had enough energy to do the crewing and stay up late, get up early, crew more and then drive for eight hours.  I think it's important to note:  I think I've been under replacing for ultra events.  I was on increased HC for two days after the race.  This might be the first time I've done a race and felt reasonably tired (as opposed to excessively tired) for the conditions, my training, the effort I put into the race and all of the extraneous fun during race weekend.  I was reasonably sore after but not obscenely.

I have to say, the friends I've made through these Tennessee races are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met.  We can all let our hair down and be who we are, farts and all.  We share some unique experiences, a love for these races, a love for adventure and desire to test ourselves.  Some I've only met online and then meet at these races.  I'm always amazed at how it feels like I've known them forever.  I'm getting a little choked up at how much I love and respect all of them.  Incredible athletes and great friends, all of them.  Thanks guys!

A bunch of us (no John Price) five minutes before the race started


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