Warning: the following words and images will allow you to vicariously see the world with the eyes of Sultan. Read at your own risk. The name Sultan has many meanings, but derives from the peak Sultan Mountain in Silverton, CO!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hwy 40 - Max Patch - Hot Springs 31 miles

We camped out the night before, and left the campground at 6:15am. Kemper volunteered to drive us down to Hwy 40. I miscalculated the time it would take to get to Hwy 40, that mixed in with not being able to find the right trailhead lead to an 8:07am start. I began hiking up Snowbird Mtn with Greg, and John. This was Johns first attempt at a 50k trail. We stuck together for the first few miles, and then Greg took off. This section of the AT resembled the Dow Jones index the last few days, steep ups and downs. When we reached an area that looked like the parking lot we didn’t see Greg. I had the key, and I knew he would want water. Me and John kept going for a while, and then decided to head back to the car, no Greg. John spent 10 min and then took off. I stayed back for another 10 min answering the call of nature. When I headed back towards Max Patch I took the Max Patch loop trail which was a mistake, and then the AT junctioned at the end of that trail. I decided to turn away from Hot Springs for a while so get to the summit of Max Patch as I have never been there, and head back.

The clouds reduced visibility to maybe 40 feet, so I didn’t hang out to see the views. It was in the 30’s at Max Patch and I was getting cold, so I quickly moved towards Hot Springs. After a few miles Greg startled me by tugging on the back of my pack. I thought to myself, How did he get behind me? He explained that he backtracked back to the car. We must have missed each other while I was on the loop trail. We both kept trucking along, hiking and running for a while. I gave Greg a bottle of water as I knew he might be short on fluids. After a few miles I decided to start running harder to try and catch up with John. I crossed the road into Hot Springs at 4:47pm, 8:40 minutes after we started in Hwy 40. Now I had to hike a mile into the campgrounds. I later found out John had finished 12 minutes before, which is amazing for a first time ultra runner, way to go John!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Looking Glass 30 miles

I left the house by 5:30am so that I could meet Charlie, Matt, Adam, and Brian at the bottom of the Art Loeb trailhead. I was running low on gas as I passed Hendersonville and no gas station had any gas left. As I parked my car I wondered if gas would arrive by the end of the day.

We all headed up the Art Loeb and Brian took the car up to the Black Balsam Balds (18 miles away) which is where we would refuel. He would start there and run down to the Davidson River Campgrounds (our start/finish). Adam quickly shot up the mountain, and shortly after Charlie was off in the distance. I ran and hiked up the steep sections at my own pace. The day was perfect and the foliage was colorful.

After our aid station I took a right on the Mountains to Sea Trail. I headed up that trail for a little over ten miles and then I decided to hit the asphalt on Blue Ridge Parkway. I had planned to run to hwy276 and hitch I ride back to my car, which is when I saw all the guys on the side of the road waving at me. We all dropped our ambitious goal of 43 miles at mile 30. After over 9,000 feet of gain and 30 miles I was done for the day. I was able to find gas and make it back home with my car.

I would like to come back and finish this one day!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hinson Lake 24

I enjoyed my time last year at The Hinson Lake 24hr and I was looking forward to another great 24 hour run with Tom and his family. This would be another year that Hinson Lake was in the month of Ramadan. Also, a week prior to the race hurricane Ike hit the coast of Texas which has caused and continues to cause a gasoline shortage in the southeast and specifically in Western North Carolina. I was forced to wait 40 minutes in line to fill up my take Friday before the race. It was either that or not make it to Rockingham.

We started at 8am and I was running a 10 minute pace. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace, but felt good starting off. After running the first loop I realized how muddy the second half of the trail was and knew that the more feet pounding that section of trail, the more sloppy it would get. It reminded me of the time I got stuck in the mud in our safari Land Cruiser in the middle of the Ngoro Ngoro crater. All up in it with the lions, water buffalo, and other exotic wild animals.

Hinson Lake is a 1.52 mile loop that circles Hinson Lake in Rockingham, NC. It was muggy and humid that morning. My shorts were drenched within a few loops. I started off running with Scott Brockmeier. We got lost in discussions of Russian adventures and I lost track of how many loops I had run. After about 10 loops I pulled back and let Scott go, he later went on to win the event running an amazing 79 loops totaling 120.58 miles!

After about 10 loops I took a little break and lied down, I was feeling a little tired. I grabbed a few salty potatoes and went on my way. I met many failure faces and a few new ultra runners. Along the way I ran into Laura who is always in the greatest of spirits. It was her birthday, and she was celebrating. I also ran into Lane who I met briefly at the Florida Keys 100, it was great to connect.

After a few more loops I began to feel hungry and sleepy. I usually don’t have these feelings, but I thought it might be due to the fasting of the last 23 days. I took a 15 minute nap and then drove off to a Wendy’s and grabbed a spicy chicken sandwich. I gobbled it up, it was great.

After my friends had learned of my side trip I quickly gained the trail name spicy chicken. I didn’t mind. At this point I was walking and running and talking to my new trail buddies. It took about 3 loops for the spicy chicken to settle in.

After 27 loops I talked myself out of the race. I sat down in my lawn chair and could feel a throbbing blister on my right foot. I had fun, but I was going to bail on the remainder of the run. I cheered a few runners and just sat in my chair for 45 minutes or so.

I was getting yelled at by this point and got up to walk a loop with Byron. I then decided to up the mileage to 50 for the day and was happy to finish with that. It took me 11:50 to wrap up Hinson Lake. Next year I plan to finish all 24 hours!