Saturday, October 12, 2013

Leg 34: Don't Think, Just Run

The run started out pretty brutal with a nice sized uphill. Then after a whole we finally started going downhill. This lasted until we got off the parkway and onto the highway. There were a few hills and bad wind but it was mostly downhill. The last mile lasted forever. At one point, I remember Clark yelling "WHERE ARE THEY?!?" It was brutal because we were just so exhausted, we both just wanted to be done. I remember constantly repeating "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" over and over again. 

I was so relieved to be done. I remember Clark and I just hugging. We were lucky to have not too bad of a leg. I admire everyone who did this so much. It amazing to think that we ran 175 TOGETHER. We all did it together. Every single person pushed their hardest and they're all me and Clark's heroes. Clark was naturally more peppy than me for most of the time which gave me energy. This is definitely the hardest thing we've ever done but rewarding.

Clark and Elena out 

The Finish !!!!

The 2013 R4R concluded on the campus of ASU at 10:10 am.  The finishing time was an astounding 27 hours, 25 minutes and 49 seconds.  This time was one hour and 42 minutes faster than the previous best R4R time of 29:07 in 2012.  What a great run and a great time!  Thanks to all of you for your support again this year.


Leg 2E : #30 ghost whisper

Ghost voices, weird noises, and strange animals plague the last few miles of the parkway. 4am, paranoia starts setting in , the end is near... We're done... 47 minutes.. The Hill Haters!!

Leg 2D : #23 Slippery slope

And it's all down hill from here!!!! 5 miles downhill, 33 minutes!
The Hill Haters!

Leg 31: What's the Point Spread for Today's WCU Game?

Matt and I hobbled back onto the Parkway for our final leg of the 2013 R4R.  We weren't quite sure what lay ahead..... Other than more darkness.  By now the R4R team was on pace to run 28 hours, meaning our anticipated daylight run would instead be run in the pre-dawn darkness of 6 am.  So we trudged on an up and down and some more up 5 mile jaunt.  

Just as we approached the two mile marker, we heard a BIG rustling in the woods.  Big as in a bear or coyote that is.  Matt decided right then to do his best Usain Bolt impression and off he went into the darkness.  I calmly suggested that, instead of sprinting...which my legs clearly were not going to buy into, we just talk really loud to scare off whatever was in the woods watching us.  Without missing a beat, Matt started quizzing me about the spread of today's WCU vs. Auburn football game (it is Auburn -40 in case you care.... Thanks ESPN app)!

Well, I don't know if that did the trick or not but at least a mile of our run was spent making idle chatter about football.  Once we hit the three mile mark, the noises subsided and we were able to return to complaining about our aching legs.  

This last leg was not too bad.  Lots of rolling hills that led to our finish and the glorious reality that we had both survived the 2013 R4R.... Matt's first and Jay's sixth.  

~Jay & Matt 

Leg 20 and 27: Battered but Not Beaten

     Elena and I are beginning to feel the real effects of this run. Both of us are exhausted, I'm hungry, the right side of her body is dying, and we just want to finish. We have had our ups and downs which includes the rolled ankles and the shin splints, as well as easy downhill legs, so we have been pushing through with pretty good attitudes. 
     We missed the previous post about the run because we got in the van and were out like a light. We got to run with Andrew because he decided to make up for missing his first leg by running ten miles straight. I thought he was being ridiculous, but I wasn't going to stop him. He kept us going through this run while reminding us, every so often, that the last mile was a steepish hill. We got through the run without any major hitches and were able to tag the next group on. 
     On our most previous run we saw an animal really early in our run that was about cat size but we couldn't tell what it was. It kind if freaked us out and we were hoping the van would hurry up and get behind us.  We also saw a tiny little mouse scurry across the road, which didn't scare us too much. All I could really think about though, is the brightness of the stars. I kept wondering why they weren't as bright in Charlotte, where I'm from, but I remembered we have a lot more light to deal with in Charlotte. 
     Anyway, it is nap time in our van and I'm pretty tired. Sorry about the missed post but this one is long enough to make up for it. 
     Oh and the service Is terrible. 
-Clark and Elena

Leg 19: A True Shinobi

Night fell and all was dark. We had done more training drills in the dark than in the light. Christine had trained in Japan for 15 years with the shinobi group, and she was most confident when she had the cloak of the night. In the daytime we felt naked and open for attack or ambush, but in the dark cover, we were alive, free, and victorious. 

We had been rucking uphill for several clicks when our gear began to malfunction. There was no telling where or when we were, and it seemed like eveything changed when we exitted the tunnels. We had been using standard night vision goggles, which allowed us eyes, using the moon amplify everything around us. There was an electrical interference of some sort, which caused our goggles to flicker on and off for about five minutes. In that last few seconds before they went out completely, I saw an arial beast fly in the face of Christine. 

She didn't scream or show any signs of being startled. She was trained to never be scared. I was told of the drills they completed to enstill this skill in the shinobi group, and I am surprised she is able to sleep after 15 years of those absolutely horrid drills. Milliseconds after it lached itself to her face she had pulled it off with one hand and sliced it in half with her blade in the other hand. Harnessing the power of being startled into an instantaneous attack can be the different between life and death. 

I tried to see if there was any sort of wound, but all of our electronic equipment was fried. Even our compass was spinning haphazardly, which we could see only due to the tritium gas encapsulated on the needles. She said she couldn't feel that it had bitten her. Thinking back to the image in my mind that I saw it for a split second, I thought that it could have been a bat of some sort. But upon further review, I realized it couldn't have been, it didn't have an apparent mouth or even eyes. I distictly remember a slender needle like protrusion on what could have been its face. Overall, the equipment and the attack were a bad signs of what we were close to. We rucked on.

As we continued what seemed to be a few clicks, though it was impossible to tell, Christine was acting different from her prior state. I couldn't determine what it was, but something just wasn't right. Her respiratory rate was increased, she may have been sweating, and when I brushed up against her she felt cool and clammy. It wasn't good, and I feared that what attacked her could have been poisonous. Our standard med kit had nothing for the time or place we were in, so I continued to monitor her.

It wasn't but an hour after the attack and I saw a glissen of liquid on her face from the moonlight. I remembered that my compass was plated with small tritium gas canisters which emitted a small amount of light. When it was held up against her face, I was stunned. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. There was something growing out of where she was bitten. Slick, rigid tentacle-like strictures were originating from that one spot, and was covering the side of her face. It had to have been a parasite, and it was changing size relatively quickly. I decided it had to go.

I am no surgeon, but my years of my experience in the field have made me pretty handy with a knife. So, naturally, that was my go to method for extraction. With the compass as my guide, I wedged the knife between the tentacle and her skin, and with one swift flick of the wrist, cut one of the many tentacles off. Immediately, Christine went rigid and fell back. Fortunately, I caught her, but at the cost of nicking my knee with my trusty blade. I lowered her to the ground and re-assessed the situation.

She was breathing, unresponsive, cool and clammy, and had a pulse over 100. My electronic equipment was rendered useless, so I was merely guessing with the heart rate. I was thinking about leaving her, that was what we were taught in the training. When behind enemy lines, you have to do what you need to finish the mission. But this mission was starting to wear down on me, it was nothing like I had ever experienced. Also, she had been an invaluable squad member thus far, and without her I would be lone wolf. While big-screen Rhambo romanticized the idea of lone wolf, in the real world, lone wolves are killed by other packs, and don't last long. 

I weighed the options, and decided I had to hide her and move onward. I could pick her up after the mission was complete. She would do the same in a heartbeat. Just like we practiced in training. I made it to the next checkpoint almost too seemlessly. It was too easy. It is never too easy in real life. Unfortunately, lone wolves only make it in the movies...

Team Ninja Alpha Destruction Squad 

Christine and Josh

Leg 24: Twin Tunnels

Leg 24 started out benign enough with a gradual uphill followed by a pleasant downhill.  Then, once again, the road rose up in the form of a slow, long, winding hill...... For three agonizing miles.  The black of midnight added to our frustration as we kept waiting (praying really) to feel the hill crest.  Of course, with only the light of our headlamps to guide us, we could see only about 50 feet in front of us.  Our legs screamed that the incline was ongoing but the lack of light gave the impression that the hill was about to end.  Finally, with two miles remaining, the uphill gave way to a long, glorious downhill.  By the end of our trek, we had covered 5.3 miles in about 43 minutes.  Overall, not too bad considering the incline, the dark and the extra few tenths.  Five miles to go..... Now it is time for some sleep.

~Matt & Jay

Leg 18 Jennie's Fault

The other van was running legs so we leapfrogged ahead thinking we'd get a nap. We'll just drive our leg first and see how it looks Jill suggested.  It looked like a hill. 5 miles of a hill. No flats, no downs. Jennie's fault. Jennie drew a four. OK, a hill. Sun now low behind us and night coming. First leg with reflective vests and headlamps. Matt comes streaking in from his leg. First time he's looked a bit gassed. 15 miles now for him and a lot of uphill there too. We tag up and start our climb.  Moon now hanging where the sun was in the sky for our first leg. It's interesting what you think about on a run. Here you have to acknowledge the majesty of the mountains. You think abut things like gastrocnemius and soleus. Strong sounding names. They are winers. You watch the trees and the mile markers crawl by. Here comes mile two. Feeling pretty good. Then you notice the sudden increase in the effort of each step. Can't really see the subtle change in grade, but everybody that runs knows that feeling. Parkway telling you not to get cocky. Downshift. Run on. The valley floor is now dark, Visible only by the lights of the homes down there. Those folks don't see us clawing our way up our 5 miles. (Jennie's Fault, Jennie drew the four) The van leapfrogs us offering encouragement.  My run partners are both hurt. They still started the leg. I am in awe of them. I am in awe of this whole crew. These students come for rotations to my internal medicine practice and are always well educated, but this is a side of the program I have been wanting to see for several years. What a great idea for a fundraiser!  What a noble effort!  Runners all know the camaraderie of runners. This is really evident in this bunch.  Eventually 5 miles passes. Fully dark now. Josh and Christine take over again. 3 down. Two to go. What are those legs like? We have good maps and we can look. Maybe later.
Randy, Jennie  & Jill

Friday, October 11, 2013

Leg 15: Can I get a downhill run? Negative ghost rider

Our group can not get any type of downhill and it has been quite a run so far. Getting close to asheville we ran into all kinds of angry people getting off work, we got honked at lights flashed at us all because we were slightly in their lane. Give us a break were running our 15th mile here!

Leg 22: 3 miles of bliss and 2 miles of blisters

We finally got a downhill. I should be excited except what was to come completely destroyed all excitement we had. For roughly 3 miles we had a nice decline and then all of a sudden we climbed our worst hill yet. that started a uphill battle till we finally saw those flashing hazard lights where our group was stopped and signaled the end of our 4th leg

Leg 17: Hallelujah.....Downhill

Our third leg started with a gradual two mile climb, filled with lots of road kill.  Then, miraculously..... Finally...... Could it be?  Yes, downhill!!!!!!  Needless to say, this was the best part of our day so far.  The last three miles were a mix of downhill and flat...... Pure bliss for tired legs.  Matt cruised through the finish in 39 minutes and Jay was right behind in 40 flat.  A great run and only ten miles to go.  

~Jay & Matt

Leg 13: Dark tunnels, Dementors and Twisted Ankles

Clark and I started off at a pretty fast pace. We were lovin the downhills. A tunnel was coming up and Clark and I were pretty excited about having a tunnel... Little did we know how terrible that tunnel would be. 

In the tunnel, after all the cars passed us, it was pitch black and we couldn't see a thing. The whole atmosphere reminded me of a scene from a Harry Potter movie where the Dementors swooped out and attacked. While thinking about this and dreading the Dementors, Clark just let's out a yell for fun. I swear I jumped 15 ft in the air. I thought he was a Dementor who was about to attack me. 

A few moments later a car is coming and I move more to the side of the road to make room. I fall off the road into the gravel and twist both my ankles. I reach for the wall but miss it and catch myself on the gravel. Clark swears he twisted his ankle too. Everyone always says "don't go towards the light", but Clark and I definitely booked it to the light at the end of the tunnel. 

The rest of the run was painful but not too bad. I swear Clark has a 6th sense that tells him when cars are coming which definitely saved us quite a few times. Our time was around 38 minutes, so pretty fast, but we're both glad it's over. 
-Clark and Elena. 

��☀️ 2C leg 16: sunset paradise

A seemingly beautiful sight to see, running through rolling hills and over two bridges. A perfect moment to remember that the last mile and a half is a straight up hill doozy... 40ish minutes! The Hill Haters continue on! 

Leg 12: "Cannon has a Smokey"

It was an arduous trek, indeed. We travelled for what seemed like days. It was difficult from the heat, which seemed to boil the water from our body and form salt crystals over our skin. Our team kept reminding eachother to push fluids, but I couldn't drink anymore, it was so bloody smoltering. There was no recon mission this time, no, just pure rucking. We had our gear, eachother, and an innate thirst to dominate. We had all of the ingredients needed to conquer. 

We saw ahead a large cave, maybe manmade, and about five stories high. As we approached, we realized that it was, in fact, manmade, and by an advanced civilization. The architecture was so simple that it had to be advanced, with unworldly bright, blinding lights on the sides of this tunnel we knew this was far from our rudimentary LED/flourescent lighting systems that we were so familiar with. There was nowhere to go but through the tunnel, and our team silently hoped that our training had prepared us for what lied inside.

It sounded like a crack of lightning, and was loud enough to be. The sound was continuing and getting even louder. It had to have been an extremely high-voltage capacitor, since the cracking was continuous, and I could see the hairs on my arm shooting erect. The sound was now close, and unnerving. Around the corner, there was a large metal object, the size of a house, coming straight for our squad. 

We hit the deck, just like in our training, and barely avoided the high-velocity, massive machine. The whoofing of the trailing air pounded on our faces. We turned around to observe the floating metal machine and realized that what seemed to be pure electricity attached it to the overhead tunnel and allowing it to hover. I quickly realized we were far from anything made by humans in this century. We looked at eachother, and both realized we were questioning where, and when, we truly were.

Several more metal machines passed through this endless tunnel, all of different sizes and speeds. One that passed us was fairly small, with a large man on it with a very burly beard. It brought me back to a series of books had read in my childhood, but the name slipped my mind. All I was thinking about was the squads safety and the mission, a victory yet to be quenched.

We eventually made it to our next checkpoint. Everyone in the squad was still with us. I had been with so many squads with so many missions, but not every member made it in the past missions. We felt accomplished, but knew we were not even halfway done with our mission. Another day, another path, but still one goal. We thought we had overcame some hard endeavors, but they were trivial compared to what was ahead.

Team N.A.D.S. over and out.

Christine and Josh

P.S. Squad name order changed due to popular request (N.A.D.S. vs. N.D.A.S)

Leg 11

Mileposts 410 to 405. We are now over the highest point and headed for Asheville. Clouds and fog of earlier in the day are gone. People are breaking out sunscreen. Jay and Matt came zipping in and started us on our second leg. Long gradual climb to the Pisgah Inn then down for three plus miles. Kinda makes up for the slog up from Balsam this morning. This leg is all long views off to the  south until you pass the Pisgah Inn. More hemmed on by trees after that but who cares if it's downhill. We decided to call it "How do you spell relief?."  43:45 and Josh and Christine can have it from here.

Jill, Jennie and Randy.

Leg #9 : Deception

What started out as a peaceful 4 descent into a gorgeous mountain valley was ended by the unexpected straight uphill 5th mile... Great run over all, 37 minutes! The Hill Haters are still going! 

The Highest Point on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Leg 10: H Cubed (heat, hills, hell)

Leg ten was just plain "not fun".  Rather than the mountain we faced this morning in Balsam Mountain, Mount Pisgah threw a 4+ mile gradual, winding incline at us.  Add a mild BRP heat wave of 75 and you have all the ingredients of an "old man killer".   Mat breezed through the very challenging five miles in an impressive 37ish minutes.   Jay was not so impressive trudging up the hills in classic "Manners death-march" style.  In the end, Frying Pan Tunnel gave way to mile marker 410 and the thankful end of a way too hilly run.

~Matt &................ (Slow) Jay

Leg 5B: What the Hill?

Christine landed successfully, I think she was a ninja prior to her most recent training operations. However, my ipod headphones cord entangled my hand, which compromised my rolling arm to a chicken wingesque technique, and my head touched down with a firm kiss on the rough road. "Shaken, not stirred," or so the spys on the big screen said, with completely different meanings. They had it easy, and got kisses by ladies. Spies of today get kissed by immovable assphault. This was merely the begining, all I have to go is up.

Objectively speaking, our recon mission was 80% successful. We made it to the end of mile 4 before the incident. This meant we knew what to expect, the first three miles were all uphill at a 7-10% incline. The fourth mile was a 0-2% decline. We knew exactly what we had got ourselves into, or at least we had thought. 

After the predicted journey, we finally made it to the site of the incident. There were shards of glass and  mirror on the ground from the wreckage, tire marks, and mist from close cloud sent chills up my spine. We were blind from what was ahead, but what happened next took us completely by surprise, even with our training. 

Our noses slapped a wall, that was covered in spider webs, and we stopped in our tracks. We could not go any further, and we had just made it to the marker that said we had one mile left. It wasn't a mountain, it was a wall, which was at an estimated 90-100% incline. We considered jumping off of the side to our left, or climbing the seemingly insurmountable obstacle using the spider webs. We, of course, chose the latter. Christine is a ninja, as we know, so it came naturally for her. With myself, it was more challenging, but we kept fighting the good fight, and overcame adversity. We finally finished and tagged to the next team, with our spidey-ninja senses intact. 

Christine and Josh (nicknames TBA)

Ninja Destruction Alpha Squad

Leg 8: Tunnel Hikers

This run wasn't too bad until the last mile.  The road just kept hugging the mountain but eventually ended with a nice, cool down hill run. As mentioned in the title, we encountered a tunnel and some hikers that came out of nowhere. 

Luke, Dylan & Wilson

Leg 7: 750

An awesome 750 foot decline in the beautiful blue mountains of the blue ridge park way. 

Leg 5A: Tuck and Roll

It all began with the scouting. Lets just say it could have been the elevation, or it could have been the glare, either way, things spiraled into chaos quickly. During a typical recon mission, at about 10:00 hours, our caravan was ambushed. We should have seen it coming. It was broad daylight, and we were experienced veterans with a few rookies. We just should have seen it coming.

Black covered the right side of the van like a curtain, and our van rocked like it was hit by a wave. Before we could take a breath, the world was spinning and the seatbelt was cutting into my left clavicle. Our caravan was flipped, and by something so colossal we could only see the paws. Massive paws, larger than tractor tires. Next came the growling, it was deafening, and we were already stunned from the trauma. I had to close my eyes and cover my ears from the sound. I felt liquid on my fingers, I don't know  if it was from my nose or my ears, I didn't care. All I cared about was the sound that made my head feel like it was cracking open like a chestnut on Christmas.

 I awoke in a haze, and my watch showed 10:13. I looked at the rest of my team. Christine, my running partner, was unconscious, and others were kneeling outside. Our team lifted the van upright, and we turned around to make it to the rendezvous point. By the time we were closing in on the tag off spot, Dr. Provost was turning the corner of the hill, and was 15 seconds from where we were supposed to be. I turned to Clark, and we knew what had to be done. He kicked the side door open, and in one swift movement, took control of the steering wheel. 10 seconds. I readied myself for takeoff, but wait! Where was Christine!? She was awake, albeit concussed, and ready to jump out of a  van moving at 45 mph. 5 seconds. In one last effort we looked to each other and said, "just like we practiced; tuck and roll." 

Christine & Josh (nicknames TBA)

Leg 6: Windy but Without Wind

Our run started out pretty nice but we had to finish the climb to the highest point on the parkway. It was very windy trying to climb up the mountain. As we were climbing to the top, Elena began to lose her breath and was having trouble breathing. It was definitely rough but not a terrible run to start off with. 
-Elena and Clark 

Leg 4: The Turkey Trot

"Pick a card, any card" said Jay, and Jennie picks a 4. BRUTAL! Jill attempts to barter with other groups, sandwiches for a better run....needless to say there were no takers. So we started off our day with 2 miles of rolling hills followed by a 1000 foot climb over the last 3 miles. Really? A 5k. Uphill? But we get to be first on the parkway. Fast guys got us here. Now we plod up. Awesome scenery.  Amazing view above the clouds.  Just don't walk.
All said and done, could have been worse.  Jay said to give him 50 minutes.....gave him 49!  Feeling pretty prepared this year!   Catamounts on the run-  running like Buffalo!  1 down,4 to go!
Jennie, Dr. P and Jill

Gorgeous views from the Parkway

Leg 3: Balsam Bust

Leg three is a tease..... It starts downhill for half mile, then rolling hills for another mile and a half.   Just when you think (or in Matf's case SAY) "this isn't too bad", you turn a corner and Balsam Mountain stares you in the face and laughs.  Three agonizing, mountain climber-esque miles later, you find yourself huffing and puffing your way to the top.  Adding insult to injury, the 18-wheelers create a wonderful head-wind that stands you straight up!  All in all, it was a good but challenging first leg of this year's event.... And a proper way to welcome Matt to the R4R!

~Jay & Matt

Leg #2 : Frogger Lvl. Expert

Harder than expected. It turns out that mountains don't have tops, they simply vanish into the clouds and keep going... I'm glad we're good at dodging cars! We completed our leg in about 43 minutes so overall not a bad run. 
                       -Greylin, Zack, Dalton (aka. The Hill Haters) 

Leg 1: Five Dollar Footlong

This first run was fairly easy but one of us slowed down dramatically due to an intense urge to need to go #1. Aside from that, it was nice. Cold but nice.

We Are Off!!!!

The 6th Annual Mountain Jug Run for Research began this morning at 6:40 am from the campus of Western Carolina University.  The first of 35 legs are on the road headed toward Sylva.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mountain Jug Run 2013

Well, here we go again.... it is October 2013 and we have been training for more than two months for the 6th Annual Mountain Jug Run for Research.  We have another great group of runners this year, 18 of us in total.

The group includes faculty members, Jay Scifers (6th R4R), Jill Manners (5th R4R) and Rob Dingle (3rd R4R),  Clinical Preceptor, Dr. Randy Provost (1st R4R) & Graduate Assistant, Josh Edwards (2nd R4R). 

Students involved in this year's run include juniors, Daniel Carr (2nd R4R), Andrew Godinez (2nd), Zack Hartman (1st) & Dylan Rubinic (1st).  Sophomores students include Jennie Longo (2nd), Christine Poole (2nd), Wilson Thao (1st) & Matthew Wronsky (1st).  Freshmen participants (all 1st timers) include Greylin Cleary, Dalton Greer, Elena D’Argenio, Luke Miller and Clark Edwards.

This is the most experience group of runners we have ever had.....and also the fastest.  The group is aiming to be the first to break the 29-hour barrier on the 175-mile trek.  We depart in nine hours (6:30 am) from the campus of WCU and hope to arrive at the football stadium in Boone before 11:30 am Saturday morning. 

You can follow our adventures (leg-by-leg) the entire way to Boone right here! 

In the meantime,  please read about our adventure in the articles below....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Leg 30: Shooting Stars & Fond Farewells

A lot easier than expected, needs a new rating (easy). It was mostly down hill with pretty lights and good weather. That run was a perfect way to end our 5th leg. We're finished!!!!! McNamara got to see her shooting stars (2) and is definitely sad that this is her last Jug Run. Definitely one of the most physically and mentally challenging experiences. Shout out to all of my lovely running partners (Alessa, Kayla, Elena, and Sarah Gilly), definitely could not have done this three years in a row without you guys. And to Kelly Hoots for getting me pumped for my last leg haha. Bye bye BRP. It's been real.

Sarah McNamara

Leg 23:

This run lasted forever. It was dark and scary the sound and fear wolves hung thick in the air. so we made the chariot to our travels follow us the whole time. They played music to try and help us along and finish. Our anxiety was swiftly relieved as we went through a few tunnels and the stars were beautiful. But it was by far the hardest run we have ran so far. All our limits and mentalities were pushed!

Leg 16: Cloud Hopping

In the Clouds was a first! We literally ran through a cloud. It was extremely foggy and basically rainy, which made it a little chillier than the last two. We almost got hit by a couple cars who didn't really see us until the last minute.. But we didn't so it's okay. And like usual for our group, we had a lovely slow incline. However, this time we had more steep declines which were very much appreciated. We were voted the buffalo hat winners for this round of legs!!!! We are buffaloooo!! We're all getting a little sore and are ready to catch up on some sleep (we've been watching hunger games).

Leg 15:

With more hills expected, the brothers marshall believed the next few miles of the upcoming run to be some of the hardest yet. Upcoming was craggy gardens, a spot of mountain that holds some of the steeper inclines and elevation changes from Mount Mitchell. The beginnings were tough, with marked increase of 5100 to 5400 feet, and a one lane road in the middle of the run made for slimmer and more narrow divides between these two buffalo and traffic than they were normally accustomed to. Another added bonus for the brothers marshall was a wonderful cloud that descended upon the mountain as they headed back down. It was beautiful as they headed into the last mile, cold, wet, and not nearly close to upset.


Calm, cool, collected and content.


The brothers. John and Aaron.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Leg 35: Toe Nails are for Sissies

Rarely does the road sign for Sylva or the site of Subway, Walmart or Pizza Hut evoke such positive emotions. It is wonderful to be back in familiar territory. Not even the climb up Catamount Gap can dampen our spirits. The 2012 Run for Research is in the books. Total running time 29 hours, nine minutes and seventeen seconds.

All nineteen who departed from ASU at 5:30 yesterday are in tow. Some slightly worse for wear. As the Blue Ridge Parkway always does, she has claimed her share of casualties. Among this year's injury list are: an Achilles Tendon, an enraged piriformis and sciatic nerve, an exertional anterior compartment syndrome and numerous toenails. This does not include the dozens of sore IT Bands, Gastrocs, and Hamstrings.

But at the end of it, we have met the challenge of the R4R. Many runners overcame physical and mental challenges beyond what they could have ever imagined. That is the beauty of this event. Everyone can be proud of their accomplishments.

Leg 28: Take It Easy?

Maybe it was because it was our fourth leg of the R4R, maybe it was because it was 4:15 AM, maybe Jon Mitzel lied to us, hell, maybe it is Zane Oliver's fault! Whatever the case, leg 28 of the 2012 R4R proved to be "not so easy".

The run began with a half mile gentle climb, followed by the day's. most wonderful downhill. Then, just as we were settling into a fast pace, a long, slow incline in excess of one mile in length greeted us. This uphill, coupled with the low oxygen pressures at 5,600 feet lead to some serious sucking-wind.

Thankfully, the last mile was almost completely downhill. Both Jay and Dan hit their pre-run goal times of 36 and 45 minutes, respectively. Leg four is finished, twenty miles in the books. All is forgiven Mitzel Inc. and Mr. Oliver. Our last run is on home turf. See everyone at WCU!!!!!!

~Jay and Dan~

Leg 24: Hooting with the Owls

Andrew and I begin our fourth leg with enthusiasm of the thought that the quicker we begin the quicker we are to finishing. The whole run was a long gradual uphill climb. I cursed myself through every step for the first two miles then Aaron with his car and music and I heard Sarah singing to the top of her lungs usher "scream"! I pretty much danced myself through mile 4. The hell set in again as we breached the last tunnel I started once again to curse every step. I have never in my life been pushed to the limits like I have even on this run! Again I would not have gotten through without my partner! -Kelly

Leg 21: Blue Lights Ahead

Leg 21 began with a pleasant little slow incline that lasted two miles. It was the kind of gradual hill that was tailor-made for the Queens of the Gradual Incline. Fortunately, it was dark enough that we could not see the hill spilling out in front of us. The only clue we had that we were running uphill was familiar burning sensation in our quads.

Then suddenly as mile two gave way to mile three, we realized we were lengthening our strides....a sure sign of having found some downhill terrain. Our excitement was short lived, however, as mile four greeted us with another gradual incline and the site of flashing blue lights!

Kelly had been pulled over (not really pulled over because she was already stopped) by the po-po. There was Jill frantically running Kelly's purse to her!

Fortunately for us and the R4R, the officer said we just needed to be careful and that we were welcome to continue our trek. Which was good news since Dan and I had already cruised right past the officer and continued our run.

Mile five was a glorious downhill and we cruised to the finish in 2012's first sub-40 leg. Some sleep and a downhill leg 28 are in our immediate future.

~Jay and Dan~