In 1977 I took up running. It did me much good for several years. Eventually I got lazy and slacked off until I barely ran at all.
By mid-1994 I looked like Jabba the Hut. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but I was overweight and so unfit my doctor told me my life was in danger. Suddenly a good attitude button clicked inside my head, and I began working out hard and regularly. I've been doing it ever since.
Within a year I lost fifty pounds, the rough equivalent of three or four bowling balls, almost entirely the result of exercise (I also lift weights), and became fitter than I had ever been. My resting heart rate sometimes drops below 40.
I used to run several ultramarathons and sometimes standard marathons each year and still blithely refer to myself as an ultrarunner — a slow one. Today (May 18, 2013), due to various changes in my life I walk more than I run, but still do long distances and high mileage.
Frequently Asked Question Frequently Given Answer How long is a marathon? 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 kilometers), often cited in round numbers as 26.2 miles. How long is an ultramarathon? Any race longer than a marathon.
Standard distances are 50 kilometers, 50 miles, 100 kilometers, 100 miles, and fixed-time events: 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour, and 6-day races.
There are many races, particularly on trails, of odd distances.
Trail races of 50 and 100 miles are so popular in the US that some persons mistakenly think that ultrarunning is synonymous with trail running.
Running Through the Millennium is a full-length book (307 pages in the typeset version) about training and racing I did between June 17, 1999, and January 1, 2000, making a transition from marathoner to ultrarunner. The last three months of 1999 I ran two marathons and my first 24-hour race.
The book has been converted to HTML, complete with pictures from all the races.
Links in this and the following sections are to race stories, and pictures, mostly of me — hot, sweaty, and tired. Runners love to read this sort of thing. Non-runners usually don't. Most of these articles were posted originally to Internet running groups. They are listed with the most recent first.
Since 1999 I've favored fixed-time events, races of 24, 48, and 72 hours, where the object is to go as far as possible in the time allotted. In 2003 I began helping out as a race organizer, providing the Across the Years Web site, along with various other tasks, which I continued until the completion of the 2010 race.
People ask me frequently about how a race of that sort is run. For two years I planned to write an article about it, but never did. In 2003, I wrote the Across the Years FAQ, a discussion of issues related to the upcoming race itself, including a lengthy section with background information taken from notes for the article I never wrote.
Since mid-2005 I have put most of my writing about running on my Neologistics Blog.
Fixed-Time Race Stories
|ATY 2005 — A Personal View||Across the Years
|My fifth attempt at a 72-hour run, an utter blowout!|
|200 Miles or Bust||Across the Years
|My fourth attempt at a 72-hour run, and best yet|
|A FANtaStic Race||FANS 24-Hour Run
|A 24-hour run around Lake Nokomis|
|A Quarter Million Steps to Success||Across the Years
|My third attempt at a 72-hour run, and the best run of my life.|
|From Despair to Ecstasy||Across the Years
|My second attempt at a 72-hour run tested me to the limit in the middle, but I bounced back with a strong ending.|
|Geezer's Greatest Grind||Across the Years
|My first attempt at the whole ball of wax, a 72-hour run, was a great success.|
|Running in the Shadow of Tragedy||Olander 24-hour Run
|USAT&F National Championship 24-hour race at Olander Park, Sylvania, Ohio, run five days after historic September 11, 2001|
|Geezer Goes Gonzo||Across the Years
|My first true multi-day, a 48-hour run. There is also a PDF version you may download.|
|Javelinas Can't Count||Javelina Jundred
Fountain Hills, AZ
|My first attempt to complete a 100-mile trail race, which I DNFed at 80 miles, but nonetheless had a wonderful run. Check out the slide show of the Pemberton Trail on which the race is run.|
|Reflections on Number Ten||Whiskey Row Marathon
|My tenth marathon, and my second shot at this race, on a beautiful day. This report is shorter than usual, but I also created a slide show that shows the course well.|
|Geezer Becomes a Wheezer||Crown King Scramble 50K
|My second shot at this course|
|Going Down for the Fourth Time||Tucson Marathon
|Another lovely day in the southwest|
|Mad Dogs and Phoenixmen||Just Another Mad Dog 50K
|My first dead last finish, but I ran an extra 3.85-mile lap for fun and for training.|
|A Perfect Time||St. George Marathon
|The second time I ran this race. Although it was my slowest ever, it was strategically one of the best runs of my life.|
|Geezer Grunts His Way to Gurley Street||Whiskey Row Marathon
|A race that runners call a 26.2-mile ultramarathon because of the hills and elevation. Here is a fearsome looking map and elevation guide.|
|Geezer Gambols Up the Mountain||Crown King Scramble 50K
Crown King, AZ
|My first ultramarathon, with several pictures. This was the most fun I ever had running until that time.|
|The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind||Tucson Marathon
|My fourth marathon. I put forth a monumental effort, but was impeded by headwinds strong enough to blow me off the road.|
|Becoming a Veteran||Grandma's Marathon
|This was my third marathon, one which proved to be tough but informative.|
|The Rain from Spain Fell Mainly in Tucson||Tucson Marathon
|My second marathon, run in cold, wind, rain, and hail, in which I set my PR. I framed this finishing picture.|
|My First Marathon||St. George Marathon
St. George, UT
|A first marathon is always very special to runners. In addition to the story, view several pictures.|
|Whiskey Row Half Marathon||Whiskey Row
|The well-timed finishing picture
was taken by my daughter as I crossed the finish line. I felt
much better than I look.
The event is really called the Whiskey Row Marathon. That's what it says on the T-shirts. There is also a half marathon (13.1 miles), which is what I ran, a 10K, which I ran in 1996, and a two-mile fun run/walk.
|AFC Pictures||America's Finest City Half Marathon
San Diego, CA
|Pictures of struggling to cross the finish line, and looking better on the finisher's stand. Also pictures of Suzy and Cyra-Lea, who traversed the 5K. It was very hot that day.|
These are some column-length articles on the subject of running that have been enjoyed by subscribers to running lists I participate in.
|Our Mortality||Reflections on high school before my longest race|
|Finisher's Medals||A meditation on their value|
|Penguins as Ballast||Bottom loading a race profile|
|To Endure Is to Endure||Continuing when you don't feel like it|
|Running as Transportation||One overlooked benefit to all the work|
|More Than a Pink Hat and Hugs||A broken record that is not a PR|
|Geezer Gets a Go-Be, Goes the Gamut||A 29-mile training run in the desert|
|Unfit to Take Showers||Living in the world of stoopid rools|
|Pemberton Trail||The trail on which the Javelina Jundred 100-mile trail race is held|
|Reach 11 Recreation Area||This is one of my most visited training sites, just a few minutes from my home in north Phoenix, Arizona, where I can run for four hours without seeing another person. The fourth picture on the page might give you some idea why some people don't go there.|
|Crown King 2003||I didn't run this race, but volunteered to help, starting at 1:00am, working straight through until 2:00pm. In my last responsibility, I was a traffic director, and had opportunity to photograph most runners as they headed down the home stretch, 150 yards from the finish.|
For two years I did not race much, mainly for economic reasons. In July, 2003, I turned 60 and entered a new age group. Nearly a year before I set a goal that when I reached 60 I would run one timed race each at all of the following distances: 100 meters, 1 mile, 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon, 50K, 12-hours, 50 miles, 100 miles, 24-hours, and multi-day, as much as possible within my 60th year, as scheduling allows. The following chart summarized how I did. The only format I was not able to fit in was a 50-miler.
Verbal analysis of GSR
|100 Meters||24-Feb-04||ARR Open Mile||Done
|ARR Open Mile||Done
|3.25 Mile Walk||10-Oct-03||Walk for Diabetes||Done
|5 Kilometers||18-Jul-04||ARR Summer Series||Registered||27:06.95[*]|
|10 Kilometers||21-Feb-04||Foothills 10K||Done
|Half Marathon||15-Feb-04||Desert Classic||Done
|50 Kilometers||07-Feb-04||Pemberton Trail 50K||Done
|ATY Through the Night||Done
|50 Miles||02-Oct-04||Man Against Horse||Considering||11:37:01|
|100 Miles Trail||
DNF @ 80 miles
|Across the Years||Done
[*] Indoor track training run; otherwise time represents races