Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Warning Shots, Two Skunks and Off to Mt. Hood

This past week has been brutal on the training front. I have hammered the legs with weights, lunges, spin that darn near kept me anaerobic for a freaking hour and a track workout that made me want to write bad checks. I was going to have to be travelling to Portland Oregon on Sunday Morning for business and between balancing birthday parties and my wife’s schedule, dictated that I do a long run on Friday night. I was tired from work, my legs hurt, and when I determined to go long on Friday, it took all the good’ol Marine Corps motivation to get it done.

So at 7:30 pm, I was off to Erwin Park for a 20 to 25 mile trail run…most of which would take place under the cover of darkness. It was hot and muggy, but the only easy day was yesterday so off I go. At around midnight, when most normal people are dreaming of winning the lottery in deep slumber I was off in the woods attempting to stay hydrated. I had decided after about 15 miles on the trail to take to the rode and attempt to get a breeze that may offer some mild semblance of relief. I run down the road to the park entrance and head out on the road going north. It is where most Texans would call the country with various homes situated off the road. Most homesteads have elaborate gate systems guarding the roads up to each man’s castle. So as I turn off the road to head north, I hear a sensor start to beep on the gates and realized it was sensing movement. A minute later I hear a man call out and immediately fire 2 warning shots…at least I hope they were warning shots. Two thoughts ran immediately through my mind. One, get the headlamp turned off and why did I wear running stuff with some many dang reflectors…and two, get the heck out of Dodge for crying out loud. I turned immediately onto the park road leading back to the trail and went anaerobic. A little speed work on a long run never killed anyone…but not moving fast enough tonight may usher in results I wouldn’t be real fond of….And so, a lesson learned, don’t go that dang road at night unless you want a little excitement for the evening…I really need a life. Back on the trail proved relatively uneventful. I did happen upon two different skunks at two different times. Both times we made our acquaintance at about 8 feet. I nodded to them a good evening and they responded with a look that made me think they realized I had a screw loose and took great pity on me. They would scamper off the trail and once again I would go into Oxygen debt. It was a long, hot night. The legs took a beating, I walked more than I wanted, but did have a quality “on my feet” training run. Saturday morning at just before 2 bells in the am…22 miles done.

Saturday was a great time with the family and on Sunday I was off to Portland Oregon.

Never been to Portland…never been to Oregon for that matter. But Olga, Ultrarunner phenom and recent Hardrock 2009 100 mile finisher, had recently moved from Portland to Austin Texas. Poor girl is probably suffering a nominal, daily heatstroke after residing in Oregon and growing up in Russia….but I digress. In a email, she told me to contact the trail running club in Portland. I did….and they responded. Rick was up for a Sunday afternoon trail run, I would be landing at a little after’s a go. I changed into running stuff in the airport….took the train down town and literally 5 minutes later had grabbed a chicken gyro at the Sunday market in the square, and then jumped into Rick’s white Corolla. We introduced ourselves to each other. I ate my gyro and we made our way to Forest Park. An intensely wooded area with over 40 miles of trails….a true paradise. Rick was too kind. First the hombre can run a sub 8 hour 50 miler and second, he suffered my slower pace making sure I was having a good time. Eight miles and a hour and half later, we where back at the car, with Rick taking me to the hotel. What a great guy…and we had a great time. I will say this though, the first mile was all uphill with about a 600 feet climb…you just can’t do that in North Texas.

Rick showing Forest Park

When we were flying into Portland I realized a huge peak out the starboard side. There was Mount Hood in all his glory. OVER 11,000 FT!!! I began to imagine a route to the top as it beckoned. I asked Rick about it. He had summited Hood, I believe, 3 times. I asked the locals about it. I was intrigued. I made a special stop by REI to inquire about mountaineering equipment. I priced up alpine boots, and crampons…ice axes…I asked about schedules…when was the best time to summit? Early spring? Start a midnight? Got to get down before the glacier heats up and rocks start to roll? Yep, it’s definite! I have put it on the list.

I am now writing this on the plane ride back to Texas. It has been an incredible week of training and travel. Couple that with a productive business trip…I am ready to get home…and maybe work on a timeline….you only live once, make sure it’s enough! Stay Thirst my friends.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Just to catch you up….here we go. Winding down summer. Training in full swing for 4 Elliott family members. Bren, the HOT WIFE is having no foot pain and getting some good time on her feet, walking coupled with her spin classes. Working at keeping a good pace on the walk and averages 4 MPH for a couple of hours….really proud of the homegirl.

Luke is worked both on the bike and run. Has completed one Brick in 102 F TEXAS HEAT. Has kept a good pace for 1.5 mile run and loving the training aspect of it . We are signing him up for additional swim classes this week.. Really proud of the kid.

Me…well I am doing back to back long runs on Sat./Sun. One day of hard spin, One speed workout on the track, One temp/hill run and 2 to 3 core/weight workouts a week. Saturday ran 20 miles in that FREAKING TEXAS HEAT…it hurt at mile 1 and only got worse. Ran an 8 mile trail run on Sunday. Palo Duro 50 mi. is still 2 months away…

My brother, Sam Elliott, will be riding in the Hotter N Hell 100 mile Bike race in a couple of weeks. yep, it takes place in Wichita Falls Texas...and is talking about a 250 mile bike race in October....the week before I run Palo Duro...must be something in the genes.

There you go…RUN ON!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's an Affair - A Family Affair

My Love - Bren


Luke at the pool

Luke on a trail run

Don’t even know where to begin…so let’s do this chronological. First, as it has been documented, I was going to pace my buddy Dmitry for the Cactus Rose 100 miler. What I did not realize that the race was Halloween night. When I had told my kids that I would be gone during Halloween because of a race, let me say that it was not well received by both kids and wife. My kids will one day be grown, so I consider my time with them precious. That left me with having to tell Dmitry about the change in plans, which really killed me. When I tell someone something, I want them to take to the bank. Frankly, I was in turmoil. After discussing my dilemma with some fellow trail runners, Laurie Underwood said that she would pace him. She is as tough as the come and a stronger runner than I anyway…and she has a 100 miler under her belt. Dmitry was most gracious then told me he would give me hell all 62 miles of Bandera this coming January. I would expect nothing less.

In this same conversation about being gone Halloween, my wife asked, “when is the Cub Scout fall campout.?” I looked at her and realized that it is the same weekend as the Rockledge Rumble 50K in November. In 5 minutes the best laid plans had gone seriously awry. Bren, then asked about the Palo Duro 50 mile Trail run…when was that…why don’t I run that…? Well because, I was going to pace Dmitry and didn’t think the legs could handle both with them being so close together. Bren then reminded me that the Palo Duro Weekend was the week the kids get out of school…let’s make it a family event. I looked at her and said, “Why don’t you power walk the 20K.” She grinned…”we’ll see…think I can do if I can get my ankle to quit bothering me.” Bren is in great shape. She will spin 2 to 3 times a week and do strength and flex training a couple of days a week. She has a problem with her ankle that will eventually need surgery, but Sunday night took off for training with “time on her feet walk.” If her ankle allows, I will be more proud of her endeavor than my own! So there you have it…50 mile redemption race for me 20K baptismal race for Bren….and the kids will be in tow….

That brings me to this weekend. After church, I told Luke to tune into channel 5 on the tube. There was a triathlon and Missy had shown her mad skilz by placing 6th in her age group. Luke would not leave the couch….half way through the airing, he turns to me and ask, “Do they have this for kids?” “Yep,” I replied. “I want to do one of these!” Luke said…and off we went to look one up…October 10 there was a Kid’s Tri in the area…50 yard swim, 2.5 miles on the bike, and 05. mile run. Luke then admitted that the swim part was his weakest and runs of to tell mom, “He as got to start getting to the pool.” There is a fall swim lesson for his level to refine his stroke so we will sign him up for that. This evening we got our first Brick training. 2.5 miles on the bike and ½ mile run to start a baseline. He has already started thinking about his pool transition and whether he wants to “waste time” putting on socks. Gotta love it!!! I have to say I was a little disappointed when he told me he didn’t want to play football this fall. I didn’t want to push him into something he really didn’t want to do. But with this tri thing, it has caught me off guard. It’s his idea and he has approached it with a vengeance.

Busy fall…good times….I am blessed….the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run.… as quoted by .Matt Crownover after is Western States 100 mile finish!