Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sicilian weather

What a way to finish the race. Wayne is about half way done with the final marathon. The rain and wind are relentless. All the athlete's are having a very tough time staying warm. No one is dry. The wind is driving the rain sideways at times, and temperature has continued to drop since the sun went down a couple of hours ago. The usual celebration at the end of the race will not happen, as each finisher is in a rush to get to the hotel for a hot shower and dry clothes. Wayne should finish a little after midnight.

Final day at the deca

Sorry for the late post today. The weather has us all scrambling to keep the athletes warm. It has been cold, windy and rainy all day. Luckily, my luggage showed up last night, so I have plenty of warm and waterproof clothes to dole out to those who need them. It is now about 6:30 in the evening and Wayne has just begun the final marathon of the race. The sun came out for about an hour, and then the clouds regained the upper hand and now there is a cold rain falling. This should make for a tough run. No worries though, even if it takes a bit longer, the race will be finished tonight. I am glad that we don't have to worry about getting all the gear dried out for tomorrow.
Kim Greisen from Denmark will be the overall winner. This will be his thirty-fifth Ironman distance race in a twelve month period, setting a new world record for the number of iron distance races in a year. That is a record I would not want to try and break. I will let you all know how the end turns out, right now I have to find some more dry clothes for Wayne.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day nine of the deca

All of the athletes are are starting to get excited about the conclusion of the race. Day eight went well, Wayne had reduced swelling in the lower leg and was able to run most of the marathon. He did back it down a bit so that days nine and ten would go smoothly. We expect rain every day, but did not get any, there was plenty of wind though. As I write this, Wayne is already out on the run on the ninth day. His 6:58 for the 112 mile course was his faster yet. This means if the run goes well, we will have another night with plenty of sleep. Only one more day to go after today, everyone is feeling the effects of the long race, it should be a good day on Sunday, rain or not.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Deca iron

Today is the eighth day of the Deca iron race in Sicily. It is very windy on the course, but no rain is expected. I was sorry to hear that Kari Martens from Sweden had dropped from the race. The paddock area will be a little lonelier for the next few days as his crew is always fun to work with. Kari mentioned that his neck was too sore to continue. For those of you that know Kari, it is amazing that he was even able to start the race this year. He was hit by a car while riding his bike about a year ago, and almost died.
We had what I would consider a small miracle yesterday. After Wayne's right leg began to swell three days ago, we thought he would be reduced to walking the marathon each day. The Wednesday marathon was over eight hours! We changed from just compression sleeves to compression sleeves/socks, had Petra tape the front of the shin with kinesiotape, and started an Ibuprofen regimen. The result was great, he was able to knock two hours off the marathon on Thursday. Today, the swelling has subsided some and we hope he is able to run again this evening. Ice is still difficult to find, but we ice the leg when possible.
The double iron race began this morning. That should help by having more athletes on the course this evening. It gets lonely at night after the fast guys finish up.
With three days left, everyone's mood is getting brighter, the end is in sight.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Deca Iron Italy

Greetings from rainy Sicily. Actually, the weather is quite pleasant. Sunny and warm, with afternoon, early evening thundershowers each day. We have had hail the past few days. Today is day seven of the Deca iron race and everyone appears to be moving a bit slower. Days six, seven and eight are the toughest for the racers.
The race started with 19 athlete's and as of today, seven have abandoned the competition. The top racers are very close, each doing about twelve hours for each day. Wayne started out very consistent, running in the fourteen hour range the first few days. A lower leg injury has slowed Wayne to a painful walk for each days marathon. The tendon sheathing is inflamed, making it difficult to walk or run. There is no ice anywhere in the village, so we have only ibuprofen to ease the pain. Today, Petra (our friend from Sweden) taped the lower leg and we will try compression socks once he exits the bike. In the pool we had to cut off the lower leg portion of his wetsuit, on the right side, because the leg was too swollen to get the suit on. Hopefully we can continue to get at least 3-4 hours of sleep.
The food is outstanding, each day the race volunteers outdo the previous day at lunch. The fresh fruit is also great. The only thing missing is a laundramat. We have to rinse our clothes out each day.
I arrived at the race on Sunday, today is Thursday, and I finally received word that my luggage was located, I may get it Friday. Now that I can get a blog out, I will try to update more frequently.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Deca Iron Report

i finally found a minute to report from the double deca and deca iron races being held in Monterrey, MX. The races began on Sunday, Nov. 14th. This year, the format is continuous, all of the swim, then all of the bike, followed by the run. I arrived last Thursday and have been busy ever since. The continuous format places a lot of stress on the equipment, and I have been doing a lot of bike repairs, in addition to providing support for Wayne Kurtz. Wayne is competing in the deca iron triathlon, 24 miles of swimming, 1120 miles of cycling, and 262 miles of running (10 marathons). As of Tuesday morning, he has completed six marathons, only four more to go. These are the toughest though, as everything hurts. The weather has turned hotter, causing us to change strategy, running during the night and sleeping through the hotter part of the day. The course is a 1.2 mile loop, and the back side begins to get shady around 3:30 in the afternoon. We are sleeping a few hours before midnight, and then a few hours at noon, it seems to provide the best results. Although at this point, just moving is a win. As in past years, the main struggle is keeping Wayne eating. It is a constant struggle to keep up with the huge caloric expenditure. Christian, from France was the winner in the deca race, finishing in just under 20 hours, only about eight hours off of the world record. In the double deca, it is close at the top, with four men within a few hours of each other. They are still on the bike portion, with about 250 miles still to go. We are seeing lot of unusual bike problems. Gregor Sundin, from Sweden, had his rear derailluer shifter break, so we fixed the bike in a single gear so that he could continue to ride. Once he stops for a sleep break, I will try to get the shifter repaired. It may not be possible. The folks from Denmark have an entire team of Helpers, and we have borrowed a few things from them. They have a bike mechanic, but he took a few days off, so he is not around to help with repairs. They also posted some video from early in the race, you can see it by going to It is all in their language, but look for the link on the page that has video in the word. Check out the swim video, with Gregor using only one arm, it had us all laughing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Racing season has begun

Now that the snow has melted it is time to get out and see what our winter base training has wrought. Our good friend Ted Ricci, who is now representing Pittsburgh in the great state of Texas, provided this race report from the Grasslands 50.
Here is a link to the results:
Grasslands Trail Run
(BTW, there is a runner named Freeman who DNF'd, obviously no relation : )

Last Saturday I participated in my second 50 mile event called The Grasslands Trail Runs( including 1/2 marathon, marathon, and 50 mile distances) put on by the North Texas Trail Runners. The races are billed as a good introduction for first time trail runners because of the gently rolling terrain of the course. The conditions this year made it anything but gentle. It had started raining heavily overnight. It was about 38 degrees at the start and still raining hard. It got colder as the day went on the rain turned into rounds of sleet and snow. I felt like I was home in good old PA rather than North Texas! The 7am start in the dark was tough because the trail was completely washed out. Runners were slipping and falling everywhere. Once it got light and the runners spread out, I was able to set into a deliberate pace. Due to the conditions it was impossible to run large sections of it. It was a mud fest. Brown mud, red mud, white mud, sandy mud, clay mud, soupy mud, rivers of mud. Variations of mud I had never seen before. The course was a series of loops that returned to the start/finish area. Almost every other runner would stop, take off their shoes and change their socks after each loop. I didn't bother. Due to bouts of frost bite early in my life, my feet are overly sensitive to the cold (just like Rick's description of what happened to Chuck at the Iditarod). My feet turned somewhat numb from the start which I have become accustomed to. Fortunately it did not get cold enough where I was at risk of losing any toes but it was cold enough to take the edge off where I couldn't tell how much mud had caked up in my shoes so it didn't bother me.

I must admit I had a few thoughts of just packing it up because of the ridiculous conditions. But I asked myself what would my ultra running mentors Rick and Dan do? They wouldn't quit! They would find a way to deal with the conditions and push on. After I determined to push on, I became concerned about making the cutoff. Fortunately I hooked up with a guy named Michael Terrel. He was an ex-military guy who had spent years on the Adventure Racing circuit so extreme conditions where up his alley. We worked together to make sure we made the cutoff. Once we did that, there was no doubt about finishing.

Around 84 people signed up for the 50 miler, only 70 bothered to start it, 7 finished --that's an amazing 90% failure rate!

Why do we do this? It is hard to describe to others the satisfaction we receive for persevering through extreme conditions. Am I ready to do the Laurel 70 miler? I don't know, but this race certainly went a long way to prepare me for it when I attempt it someday.

Happy running!

Great report Ted. You are always welcome to come and run the Laurel race.

Lou D. kicked off the local racing scene with the JC Stone 50k last weekend, and the Umstead, Bel Monte and Fools Run are this weekend, hopefully there will be some race reports to post from those events.

I talked with Tim Hewitt who just finished his fifth trip to Nome on the Iditarod Trail. He and Tom Jarding both beat the foot record there, with Tom knocking an amazing 1 1/2 days off the old record. Tim could not catch Tom this year. I try and get a post about the Iditarod later this weekend.