This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dogwood Canyon 2012

I really wanted to stop. To stop running. To stop walking. Up and down the seemingly endless hills. To sit down next to a tree. For just a minute. This was all I could think about but I knew that one minute would turn into two. Two would turn into twenty. Twenty would turn into me not finishing the race. Anybody that has run an ultra knows the feeling. When things go bad and you’re at your very lowest. I expect to feel this way in a 100 miler. It’s natural. It’s predictable. It’s inevitable. It occurs, for me, sometime after mile 70 and before mile 95. I know it’s coming and have learned how to deal with it and push through.

Unfortunately I wasn’t at mile 70 this time. Not even close. In fact, I would never see mile 70. Not because I would not finish or due to an injury but because the race I was “dying” in was a 50k. 31 miles total and I was struggling hard at mile 20. Mile 20? Dude.... You just ran a 100 miler. HOW can you be done at 20? I struggled to understand. I made excuses. I made up lies and turned them into excuses. I thought about faking an injury.... nah... I didn’t go that far but you see where my mind was, right? Let me back this story up and start from the beginning....

I was born on a Wednesday in June of.... wait, not that far back let’s move up a *few years. In 2010 I decided to run the Dogwood Canyon 50k in a pink tutu. Not because I think it makes me look manly but rather as a way to raise money for the Relay for Life and promote Breast Cancer Awareness. Not only did it turn out to be a great fundraiser but it was also good for me personally. It allowed me overcome some insecurities and fears. At first, it was embarrassing but I soon forgot about all the eyes on me and the snickers that came from many. The race was tough but fun and at the end of the day the pink tutu had placed 5th overall. Not bad.

Naturally this lead to a return of the pink tutu in 2011. Again, a great success as a fundraiser and another tough race. Interestingly enough, I placed 5th overall for the second year in a row and I was MUCH more comfortable showing off the tutu. This pretty well cemented the idea that the tutu would return in 2012. I registered early in the year and marked the date on my calendar. I don’t usually like to register that far in advance because it’s likely that I’ll do something stupid and end up injured during the “training” period but this one was a definite “go”.
Then a funny thing happened that put it all in doubt. I signed up for the Arkansas Traveller 100 Miler on October 6th. Since it was only two weeks before Dogwood Canyon, I doubted that I would be able to recover in time to “race” in the tutu. After successfully completing the 100 miler, my recovery went well and I decided that, while I couldn’t “race” the 50k, I could certainly “run” to cover the distance and carry a few ribbons along the trail. So with a week left before the 50k I asked for some help. The response was, once again, awesome. It always blows me away to see how generous and passionate people are when it comes to beating the monster. Together we raised over $750 in just about one week. Sure, that’s probably not going to be the final piece that brings cancer to an end.... but it will help and one day it will come to an end.

Before the race it was pretty cool to see several of the safety green Idiots Running Club shirts mixed in. It was even cooler to meet some the people that I had only had contact with through facebook and twitter. It’s hard for me to believe that our dumb little club has grown so large. Runners have issues. I mean, who in their right mind would want to be called an Idiot? Better yet, who would join a club and then wear the shirt to proclaim to the world that they are indeed an Idiot? I love that dumb little club....

On to the race..... By the time the National Anthem was over, I had convinced myself that I was recovered and ready to "race", so I started out fast. Probably too fast.  Not unusual for me here. I do it every time and eventually settle into a slower pace that will allow me to complete the distance. After a couple of miles we hit the first hill. It is crazy steep and seems to go on forever. I could feel the burn in my legs and they felt really tired before I reached the halfway point. Huh? I usually had no problem with the first few hills on this course so I kind of ignored it and pushed on towards the top. Looking back, this was the first indication that things were going to be a little harder this year.

Things went along pretty well for about 10 miles and then.... POW.... It was like I had run 60 miles already. I decided to push a little harder and get out of the funk. Yes, I said push a little harder. Yes, I should have probably backed off and regrouped but.... well, you know how it goes.... By mile 14 I was fading. By mile 18 I was zapped. By mile 20 I was done.
The 50k has always been an enigma to me. I can’t figure out how to run the distance. At marathon pace? Nope. The extra “5” miles will make you pay dearly if you go out to hard. Take away the roads and add trails to the equation and things really get confusing. Factor in they type of trail, the amount of un-runnable sections, the monster climbs and about 15 creek crossings.... uhhh.... well, my brain explodes. So what I usually do is exactly what happened on Sunday. Run some, walk some, drink water, eat food, smile and don’t die.

Somewhere around mile 25, a friend caught up to me on the trail. Jeff had been running towards the front of the pack but had taken a wrong turn adding an extra 1.6 miles to his 50k. He was pretty much in the same boat as I was, both mentally and physically, at this point. We decided to run/walk the remaining miles together. We talked and laughed about our situations. I vowed to “retire” from running ultras after this was over. He just wanted a cheeseburger. At the time both of these statements seemed to mean the same thing. We both just wanted to cross the finish line and sit down. I had never felt this tired in any race of any distance.
We made our way through the final miles without much care as to where we placed. Some dude passed us and I thought he was probably in my age group but didn’t really care. Turns out, he placed 2nd in my age group. Whadd’ya gonna do? I stopped a few more times for picture because for some reason, people want a picture of a dude in a pink tutu. Weirdos.... Finally, the finish line was in sight. Many friends were waiting at the finish line, clapping and cheering as we crossed. I hit my not-so-good cartwheel and called it a day at 6 hours 14 minutes placing 20th overall and 3rd in my age group.

I went home disappointed in my performance and had a laundry list of excuses. Thankfully, that pity party didn’t last long. After a night of sleep and some thoughtful reflection I came to the realization that It went exactly as planned. I ran, walked and pushed through the hardest miles that I have ever encountered in an effort to honor those whose names I was fortunate enough to carry with me that day. I struggled that day and my body ached. All I wanted was to stop, quit and give up. I had to deal with that for 6 hours. 6 hours. That is NOTHING compared to the struggles, pain and despair known by those that ran “with me” that day. I have no reason to be disappointed. No excuses to give. I am pleased with the result of that particular day. I will forever hold the memories in a special place. Thank you to everyone that supported this event for allowing me the opportunity to grow while fighting for a cause that we all so passionately believe in. I am in your debt. 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

How? Why? Are You Crazy?

 With the Dogwood Canyon 50k falling just 2 weeks after the Arkansas Traveller 100 miler it has been hard to find time to recap the race. I plan to write about it at some point because it was a great race for me and almost makes me feel worthy of claiming to be an "UltraMarathoner". Almost. Whatever. I'll talk about that junk later. 

I never really know what people want to read about. Soooo...... I would like to extend the opportunity for you to ask ANY questions you have about this race/100 milers/50 milers/Ultra's/running in general. Please don't be afraid to ask even if it seems dumb. I can pretty much guarantee that there will be 10 other people that want to know the same thing. It's seems silly but I take a lot of this stuff for granted.... 

Here are some questions I've already received....

Did you have a feeling going into the race that you would do this well?

It looks like you ran with a group part of the time. Did you already know those guys or did you meet some new interesting people?

Is that how you usually run ultras - stick with a group for a while then move on if you feel like you can carry a faster pace?

At what point in the race did Charley start running with you?

This was an out and back course, wasn't it? How often along the course did you see Charley before he started pacing you?

I've read that the volunteers at that race are really awesome. What did you think?

Did you have a plan on how you were going run this race? If so, did it go according to plan?

I've heard you talk about goals - you have your "A" goal, your "B" and your "C." I'm thinking this race was an "A" Am I right?

Was the terrain pretty challenging? The elevation chart looked really, really tough.

It was cold and a little drizzly here. The weather was pretty nasty there, too. Did it make the run much harder?

What shoes did you wear? Do you change your shoes during the race or do you just wear the same ones throughout?

What did you eat?

I saw your post where your weight stayed about the same. You didn't have any dehydration or electrolyte imbalance issues at all? How do you do that over such a long distance?

What was the very best point in the race?

What was the worst?

Would you do anything different?

Did you win your age group?

Will you do this race again?

Tell me about the end of the race. It kind of looked like several of you came in fairly close together. Did you have to push really hard for fourth place?

Do you think training with PrsFit made a difference? I know you were doing a lot of the same stuff before, but it did seem like you were logging a lot of training miles.

what is wandering through that mind of yours at about 50 miles then again 85 miles?

How do keep up with the fueling... That's a long time to keep running but even longer to have to keep up with the energy requirements I would think

how do you deal with tummy issues? do they ever arise?

So oreos are a good fuel source?

Yeah, I'm still trying to figure out fuel and electrolytes, I'd certainly like to hear your take especially since you're about the same weight class as me. Those little guys don't need to worry so much about that.

People who don't run at all will want to know why you put yourself through this.

Did you have a pacer/have you ever paced? I'm pacing a friend in a 100 next weekend. Pros/cons?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Turn the Trail Pink.... Again.

On October 21, 2012 we will attempt to Turn The Trail Pink at the Dogwood Canyon 50k. I will run the course wearing a pink tutu in support of breast cancer awareness. I am asking (begging) for donations in the amount of $5. For each $5 donation a ribbon will be personalized and attached to the tutu. ALL of the money will go to the American Cancer Society through the Relay for Life. 

When this event/fundraiser started two years ago, the original idea was to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It still is but after reflecting on the reasons why I got involved in the FIGHT, I decided it would be better to honor all people touched with ANY form of cancer. Turn The Trail Pink is in the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness Month but will honor all those touched by any type of cancer. All donations are gladly accepted and to show support for breast cancer awareness, EVERY ribbon will be pink. All donations will benefit the Relay For Life. This is a great opportunity to show honor and fight back.
For those that do not know my reasons and would like to know why I have dedicated myself to this mission here -----> The Evolution of a Running Mug

This event has become a favorite of mine and I have run pretty consistent here, placing 5th overall the past two years. This year the goal has changed slightly. I still plan to run hard and try to finish with a respectable time on this challenging course but I will hit the starting line two weeks removed from the Arkansas Traveller 100 miler. To say that I will be at 100% would be a lie. To sit out because I'm less than 100% would be an excuse. The plan will be to run hard, smile and make a difference. With your support- this is a very achievable goal. 

The donations are the ideal scenario but, as always, not required and any name received will be honored. I feel it is necessary to ask because it is so important but I understand that money can be tight at times and it is fine if you can't donate. You can still participate. You should still send the names of those you want to honor. DO NOT let finances keep you away from this. There are other ways to help and support the FIGHT. I urge you to get involved with this event and others like it. We all have something to offer.

If you do choose to donate, you can do so by one of the following options.....
Through my Relay for Life page-

Via Pay Pal
 Or send a check or cash to;

David Murphy
212 Murphy Lane
Wasola, MO

Make checks payable to the American Cancer Society. Contact me by email at for questions or to send names. Remember to ask your employer about matching contributions. Tell your friends at the local watering hole and see if they will help. Share this blog with others and spread the word. TOGETHER we can make it happen.

Thanks to those that have supported my Big/Dumb stunts, without you NOTHING happens.

‎~There's only one thing that can guarantee our failure, and that's if we quit.~