Thanks for the wonderful day. I stopped taking Ibupropin about 7 the next morning.
Here’s a post written by Pete Schuler to our running group.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word "irony" has
several shades of meaning:
1."The use of words to express something different from and often
opposite to their literal meaning".
2. "An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast
between apparent and intended meaning".
3. "A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or
4. "Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually
Examples of irony are abundant in life. Many of us can remember from
our 11th grade English Literature class an excellent example of
dramatic irony from Shakespeare's great tragedy "King Lear", in which
the Earl of Gloucester is unable to see the truth about his good son
Edgar until after he is brutally blinded by the evil Duke of
Cornwall. Elsewhere in Shakespeare, it is the court jesters, or
fools, as they were called, who often prove to be much wiser than
other, more noble characters.
In politics, we wage war to preserve the peace. No reference is
In religion, we must die in the flesh before we can achieve the
rebirth of the spirit. Again, no reference needed.
So it should come as surprise to no one, irony is also alive and well
in the world of trail ultrarunning. I should have known better than
to believe in the literal truth of a name. Nature does not lie; it
simply is. Men and women, on the other hand, often distort the truth
to suit their own needs. I know this from the many years I have
spent as a trial lawyer.
Race Director Gary Cantrell calls the 60-mile, shorter version of
his "Barkley Marathon" in the steep, densely rugged mountains of
eastern Tennessee: "The Fun Run". A few years ago, one particular
runner (I will not add to his shame by identifying him), who failed
to complete a single loop, referred to "The Fun Run" as "endless
suffering without purpose".
Many ultrarunners consider the Barkley to be the most
difficult "organized" trail run in the United States. In each of the
20-mile loops, the runners (a term I use very loosely) experience
20,000 feet of elevation change. For those completing the 100-mile
version, that's experiencing over 3 times the elevation of Mt.
Everest during the event. But don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting
that some ultra runners aren't crazy.
With 14,000 feet of elevation change over the 31 mile "Louisville's
Love'n The Hills" training run, Eric's course is clearly no Barkley,
but it can certainly be described as being in the same ballpark. But
then we must remember that "Love'n The Hills" was extremely well
marked, and there was an actual trail to follow. Eric is also a kind
sort, and greeted me with a nonjudgmental nod after I DNF'd after
running only about 21-miles in his event. To contrast, Gary Cantrell
sadistically plays "Taps" on his trumpet as each defeated Barkley
participant comes crawling in, looking like something the cat dragged
in, after missing a time cut-off or after merely just giving up
(assuming, that is, that they can find their way back.).
The second loop on Eric's "Love'n The Hills" course, the McConnell
Loop, is one steep climb after another. Ted told me that there were
9-climbs in this 7-mile portion. I'll have to take his word for it.
I tried to count them, albeit unsuccessfully. Most of my brainpower
was focused just on putting one foot in front of the other, and not
losing my balance. With about 2-miles left to go on the loop, I came
upon a dazed runner. He was carrying no water. He looked totally
exhausted. He wanted to know how much further he had to go on the
loop. "Just a little further. The worst part is over," I lied.
The Siltstone portion was not much of an improvement. As I started
the climb up the first big hill, I began to gasp for oxygen. My legs
felt as though I were swimming in a sea of lactic acid. The thought
of calling my wife on my cell phone to come pick me up so I could go
shopping with her the rest of the afternoon actually seemed like a
pleasant thing to do. I did recognize that this thought, in
particular, was not a good sign. Quickly, I plotted my exit
strategy: I would struggle along to Bearcamp Road, then hike back to
the finish at the visitor's center. Before even getting to Jefferson
Hill Road, I was considering bailing earlier, but just as my will was
at its low point, Ted miraculously appeared, not unlike the vision of
our Lady to Bernadette at Lourdes, and encouraged me to keep moving
to Bearcamp Road. Despite the fact that I'm not overly religious, I
did pray a little for my physical own recovery.
"Love'n The Hills": clearly I did not, as most runners do not. But
maybe there is some hidden truth here. Running hard, running hills,
running long, and racing, involve pain and learning to endure it. We
hate the way it makes us feel, but we seem to always come back for
more. Ask Brenda Gutmann how much it hurts to complete Leadville.
How many days after that race do the memories of all the misery
subside, and the joyful planning for the next year's run begin?
Perhaps I really was "Love'n The Hills", but it's just too soon after
the race for me to know it.
Maybe it's just the irony within the irony.
Thank you so very much for the race summary and results. They are
Good race report, Eric!
With runners like Brenda, Tom P, John S., Herb H., and Mike A. it looks like I missed a good time.
I was under the weather with the bug going around in January and am only now coming back. Hope to make it next year. My wife and I had been looking foward to visiting with family in Louisville.
Of course, we hope you make it to our neck of the woods again as well. We'll arrange for some snow to throw on the HUFF course next year.
By the way, if you ever have the opportunity to take a photo of Chief Little Turtle in his new surroundings, I would love to be able to share that with the artist.
Fort Wayne IN
Hello Eric and Robin,
The 50K course was absolutely beautiful. Thanks
again for putting on that run.
Thanks to you and Robin for putting on such a great run. I'm really excited that you decided to put on Louisville's first trail ultra. While it was billed as a "training run", it was obvious that you put a great deal of planning into it.
I know that being a race director can be a thankless job. First and foremost, you trade running for worrying. Especially in ultras, you never know when someone might get lost, hurt, or worse. Also there are "givers" and there are "takers". You clearly fall in the former category. When you are a race director, people often take it for granted when things go well. People also love to complain when sometimes they do not. People tend to forget that most race directors and race volunteers are not getting paid.
I thought the run was wonderful. Having the pre-race meal at Javier's was a nice touch, because of his interest in ultra running. The course was tough, but wonderful. The views from the hilltops was breathtaking in many spots. Despite the fact that a few of us old-timers had talked about for years putting on a trail ultra, we never thought to do it at Jefferson Memorial. The connectors that you suggested make it seem as though the full 31 or so miles was a complete course.
I think that we have a nice little ultra group here in Louisville; your event has gotten us together. Maybe we can get some of the oldtimers back out, like Tom Bennett (who used to do rogaines with Tom Possert, and Anong and Bill Pustow. Jose Wilke briefly had the world record several years ago for the the most completed 100-mile runs in one year: 13. His wife, Joan, is formerly the CRR president. She worked the water stop Saturday at Horine.
Thanks again for taking the time to put on this great event. It is especially nice of you that you sacrificed some of your own running time so others could enjoy. I wish you the best in your running career; you have accomplished so much already. Just let me know if you are thinking about putting this run on again. I can get you a number of volunteers, and race equipment, such as a finish line clock, if you decide that you would like to make some use of them.
Please also thank Robin for me as well. Thanks also to all of the friendly and helpful volunteers.
I just want to echo Pete's thanks. It was a great event on a beautiful day. As a beginning trail runner (I only did the first two loops), it was a great introduction to the sport and the people.
Thanks again for organizing the 50K run. I think it will grow from here. Kim had a good time running/hiking with your mom.
Thanks to Robin, your parents, and everyone else who helped out.
Keep in touch, Tom
Twelve of the finishers have also done KUTS, four did
the Arches run last November, and three others who ran shorter
have also been to KUTS. So I knew most of the runners. That
also made Friday night quite enjoyable, since I knew many of
the people there. That's one of the fun aspects of ultras -
meeting friends again. I knew Mike and I had finished together
since I was actually a little surprised to catch him in the
last quarter mile; he usually runs faster than I do. I guess
his broken taped toe slowed him down a little.
You have a good course for your ultra; the trails
are real hiking trails rather than multi-use, so they are
in very good condition. I don't have that luxury for KUTS,
where horseback riders and mountain bikers cause much
erosion and MUD. You may have some problems in the future
with snow/ice in a few spots, like the one early on the
McConnell loop. But a snow run would be fun, and much
Assuming you continue LTH, then you can expect
the number of entries to increase, since it was a success
this time. I watched KUTS grow from 6 to 12 to 26 to 53 to
nearly 100 the last three years. You should expect increases
too. Even though there are lots of hills, the course is
one of the better I've run. If you decide to make it a
more formal run (increase the entry fee, have food and
drink at the aid stations, give shirts, etc), LTH will
grow like KUTS. You've created something which could
grow. That's good if you want to take on that responsibility.
It's been fun for me to see that happen with KUTS, but
it does take on a whole new set of challenges for the RD.
The word is going to get out about your run being a fun
thing to do. So think about what you want it to become.
I'm glad you hosted the run; we need more ultras here in
KY. The only two ultras last year in KY were my runs.
This year we have my two again, yours, and the fellow's
in western KY on the same date as KUTS. We all need to
work together and offer these nice ultras here. Also,
you have Cherokee Road Runners to help you there, and
you should take advantage of their help, although you
also have other running groups who could help you. I'm
just thinking that your run is going to grow, and you
should be planning for that. And I wish you much success
with your run.
And again thanks for the event. I'm disappointed
that I forgot to guess the distance; I was going to
guess 30.94 miles (close to the 30.98). Guess my guess
is a little late!!!
Best of running to ya. There is a small group
running at Harrison-Crawford Forest (IN) in two weeks.
We'll be doing about 24 miles. If you are interested,
then my friend Julie Hutson is hosting the run and
I'll help and run it too. You are invited.
Great write-up about what sounds like a great adventure. You must be an
creative writing teacher as well as great runner;-)
What's on your race calendar for the spring? Are you coming to Double Chubb
St. Louis, Missouri
Thanks for organizing the race last weekend. I am sure it took several untold hours inorder to pull it all off. I appreciate it. I hope you plan on doing it again next year. I'll be back. But boy that section between 21 and 24.5 miles was tough.
See You At The Top,
Thanks Eric and Robin for the photo:
Thanks again for a very nice race, no comment about the hills.
Wishing all is going well.