(From L to R: Steve with friends Larry King and Ed Mafoud)
On last weekend's Rocky Raccoon Race in Huntsville, TX
What surprised you most about the race?
Nutritionally how well I did. I felt hydrated and my belly always said ‘yes’ to anything that I wanted until the last aid station when after drinking HEED and cocoa- cola I had some momentary nausea which quite to my delight passed as I started for the lodge.
What advice helped you achieve your goal?
Coaching from Lisa.
Did you meet any new friends on the course?
First, I got to see many of the past ‘troopers’ cruising along the way in their 50 or 100 races. (You guys made the race that much more enjoyable)! Hats off to TED, LARRY & KIRA- on their performances in the 100; and ED- his first 50! Then I have to mention who was a physicist. He and I spent almost 10 miles talking! (He picked my brain on cardiology since many aspects of high tech stuff use applied physics and I asked him questions about quantum physics and an area that interests me- Cosmology (the study of the Universe). Then he says, “Man, I wish that I knew as much about the heart as you do about physics”! What a fantastic compliment! Here was someone who teaches in pretty ‘big’ places, his wife works for NASA as a physician; wow- this is about as good as exercising gets- having a chance to chat with company like that! (If you like physics).
Is there something you learned that you'll use in future races (good, bad, or ugly!)
Here comes the good part! I was well aware of the respect others had for ‘THE ROOTS’ but this being my first trail run I guess that I had to be ‘initiated’ (I am still recovering!). I stumbled at least 5 times on the 50 course- 3 of those times, ‘I checked out the real estate’. No matter how careful I was, I had a great propensity to find exposed roots just below the leaves and pine needles. By the 3rd loop, I got the hang of how to avoid falling but I had to walk (because I repeatedly fell on my left side). A new problem soon developed however, I started out the last loop with my prescription sunglasses instead of my regular lenses. This was a major tactical error! I almost turned around back to the lodge. (Good heavens man! Take those sunglasses off- you’re scaring everybody!). Since this was my 1st trail 50, it never dawned on me how dark it can get in the park after 5PM (especially wearing sunglasses)! The only solace was that I was now on the return loop. I didn’t know whether to take the glasses off and not see the ground well or keep them on. I decided on the latter. Lucky for me, 2 people volunteered their extra lamp to me (I also didn’t think that I would need a light!). You may ask yourself after repeatedly ‘crashing through the course’, not having taken off my sunglasses and not having a lamp in a state park after dark (supposedly- I understand with alligators) why I did not ‘initiate the termination sequence’ for this race. Let’s just say, it’s all about completing the ‘mission’ and leave it at that! I could heal up later. I met some great people. It was well worth the adventure. And I’m still here! I’ll be ready for MDS next month!
Any words of advice for others thinking about doing an ultra?
Two sentences: I’ve only done 3- 50’s so I’m too ‘brand new’ to give advice. But, not being ‘brand new’ (but still being able to run), if I can do it; I would say most people who focus on the ‘task at hand’ would surprise themselves!