Category Archives: Race Reports

2017 New Zealand Centurion Qualifier

The New Zealand Centurion Qualifier. October 7th – 8th at the AUT Millennium Stadium: Mairangi Bay, Auckland. This was the 20th Sri Chinmoy 6-12-24 hour track races. A very nice facility with a great support staff. Everyone ready to help and always with a smile. When you travel to Auckland you just expect rain and high wind. We were not disappointed. Rained for 14 hours. Half that time sideways. Lucky that the first third of the race started dry.

It was an honor to walk again with my Dutch friends. Antoine Hunting, Arie Kandelaars, Marco Bloemerts, Gertrude Achterberg, Trudy Geldhof.  That list of walkers plus myself  have a total of 16 Centurion badges. We were joined in the walk by New Zealander Damien Wood.

The race was on the 400 meter track. Many people have said, There is no way I could walk around and around a track. My last two Centurion races had features I did not like. One a long hill. One had paving stones. The track is a flat and consistent surface. I was looking forward to the track. My game plan was the same one I have had the most success with. A 13:30 pace. On the track that is around 3 minute 20 second per lap. I started a little faster than that. I felt great. At the four hour direction change I was already leaning to the left. I have been taking an antibiotic for a week for a sinus infection. I guess that might have left me a little weak. For a fact after eight hours I had no gas in the tank.

Well now I have seen the other side of a Centurion race. I have been VERY lucky to have done five Centurion races. Now I have seen the side where you have to swallow your pride and bale. One challenge in any long race is figuring splits in your head. I knew I needed 3:55 splits to make centurion the last six hours. When I crossed the mat with a 4:10 I knew I didn’t have a 3:40 in me. Can’t play that game for five hours. I pulled the plug at 82 miles. Where did I go wrong. Training was good. Slept each night before the race. Mentally tough. I have experience. It was not my day. It was an honor to watch my Dutch Friends Marco, Arie and Gertrude walk a tough race. They earned their New Zealand Centurion badge. Congratulations! So sad to watch Antoine, Trudy and Damien like myself struggle.

After I threw in the towel. To say I was in a bad way is a gross understatement. I had mild hypothermia. Thanks to Phillip Sharp. He saved me a trip to the hospital. Thanks to my wife Brenda. She feed me porridge like I was a little Baby violently shaking on the floor. My granddaughter is going to love that photo. Back at our B&B now. Can’t sleep. Can’t eat. I am VERY disappointed. To be honest I never considered failure. You have to be trained, you have to be healthy, you have to be positive to walk a Centurion. Just was not my day.

What’s next? Think I will take up ping pong.

The Good.

 Photo by Tracy Benjamin

The Bad.  Me not Gertrude or Arie.

 Photo by Phillip Sharp

The Ugly.

 Photo by Philip Sharp

2017 Continental Centurion Qualifier

June 3rd – 4th The OLAT 28th International Walking Event in Weert, Netherlands. I can’t start to describe how excited I was to race in The Netherlands. The Dutch Centurions and Dutch people in support of the races I have met, all over the World, has been VERY positive. It is not just  walking events for the Dutch. It is a way of Life. Healthy people with a healthy way of life.

How many Centurions will come to a Qualifier in the Netherlands? A Bunch. Sandra Brown, Antoine Hunting, Sandra de Graaff, Bertus van Ginkel. Frans Leijtens, Frank van der Gulik, Jauntinus Meints, Jack Bertrums, Jimmy Millard, Marco Bloemerts, Gino Masto, Boetje Huliselan, Chris van Cauwenberghe, Bert Timmermans, Wim van Cappelle, Guido Vermeir, Peter Asselman, Ilona Klinkendon, Mathijs Timmermans, Gertrude Achterberg, Arie Kandelarrs, David Vandercoilden, Jannie Bos, Appie Bos, Con Bollmann,  Arie Pieter Klootwijk, Martin Vos, Hans de Vries, Hanny Klumpkens, Wilma Driessen, Dwight Kluijver, Vincent Yeung, Daniel Lhoest, Anne van Andel, Remy van den Brand, Jenny Bergs, Hans Pranger, Eric Geudens, Dirk-jan Nieuwenhuizen, Ernie Dorré, Dwight Kluijver, Jos Wyngaert,  Adrie Ros,  Gerrit de Jong, Fred Rohner and Ap van Gelderen.   I know I have left several out. I will add their names as I remember. I was overwhelmed by the number of Centurions present to say the least.

I had the pleasure to meet Centurion David Vandercoilden the day before the race. Him French. Me American. Our being centurion brothers we had a bond even if all the words did not. David would try to earn a Honderdman Pin. 100 km in under 11 hour and 30 minutes. Before I watched David I thought that would be a worthy goal to try for me. After watching David earn that pin. I can forget about that for me. I have never seen anything like it. Congratulations David.

This years race was on a different Two mile loop road course in Weert that incorporated part of a 400 meter track. My favorite Centurion layout is the two mile loop. Makes it Very easy to track your splits. The drink and food tables right on the track for easy access. Early in the race a second water table was set up at mile one. This was a very well supported race. Thanks to everyone that kept me fed and hydrated.

The weather was warmer than I would have guessed this far north. Seems I brought rain with me also. About 75 for the high. 55 over night. The night up here in June is only about five hours. Good thing it is short. It rained for most of the night.

Every one walked out to the start line. Introductions and rules were all given in Dutch. It is so sad that I only speak English. Most Europeans speak two to five languages. This worked for me because I was going to follow everyone anyway. I did have several barriers as a result. Once I asked for a ham sandwich. When I got to the pick up table. Everyone was looking at each other. What is a ham sandwich? About 600 meters of each lap of the race was on the rubberized sports track. Two thirds of the rest on well groomed asphalt. One third on cement paving stone.  During the first hour something was wrong. I was mentally and physically prepared. For some reason I did not feel right but was walking well. Then the top of both feet started to hurt. This spread to my right hip. Then both knees. Three demons rearing their ugly heads. I just walked thru the pain. Not to be deterred two more demons showed up. The paving stones hurt the bottom of my feet. Then the most evil of them all my digestive track was not happy. All of this in the first six hours. Was I going to have to be a Centurion and an exorcist? I stayed mentally strong and walked thru the pain. Finding some relief by eating different foods. Only to have each demon return many times later. Then came the overnight rain. Not heavy rain. Just a cool rain after a hot day and warm night. The next demon, wet socks. This one brought his ugly brother foot blisters. By stopping, changing socks, patching at mile 76 I was able to get another 14 miles. My sweet wife earned her pay this weekend. I needed a lot of help. Food, feet and encouragement. I kept her running, she got a blister. Thanks Bren. By mile 90 both feet were  blistered. Toes and fore foot pads. Those uneven paving stones. With only 10 miles to go I just gritted my teeth and kept going.

After my first Centurion in 2015. I thought the more races I did the easier it would become. It has mentally. Physically these races are never easy. A hundred things can go wrong. At this race for me they all went wrong. Over and over again. I never felt like I would not be able to finish. Mentally I was above all of it. It all boils down to one simple question. How bad do you want it?

65 racers started the 24 hour. 24 made it to the 100 mile mark. 11 New Continental Centurions including Gertrude Achterberg and myself. Nine first time Centurions. Rene Wakkee, Paul Jansen, Ignace Matthys, Corina Riezebos, Peter Duijst, Dick Stoevelaar, Wilko Koster, Arjan Lukken and Larissa Droogendijk. I finished with 22 hours 55 minutes 52 seconds. I stayed out and walked another 4 miles with a Friend for His first Centurion. I Became Continental Centurion C454.

Yea the Finish.

  

My wife Brenda in support watching for me.

Photo by Jannie Bos

This race transcended into something else. What it turned into was the highlight of the weekend for me. With six laps to go I caught up with Centurion Sandra De Graaff. She was walking with Arjan Lukken. After visiting with Sandra I found out Arjan needed eight laps. A quick look at my watch told the story. Arjan was going to be very close to the cut off. Sandra was committed to helping him make it. She could only pace him every other lap. I told them I would stay with Arjan to the finish. When Arjan hit 92 miles he had just over two hour to go. After walking 92 miles needing 8 miles sounds easy but our minds don’t work that way.  In a Centurion race what 8 miles means is, on tired legs, mentally drained,  you need two more hours of all out effort. Arjan said he couldn’t do it. Sandra and I convince him other wise. All he needed was four laps with no more than 30 minutes per lap. Sandra would pace a lap. I would call out split times at the mile and two mile marks. Then he only had me calling out times for a lap. Helping Arjan took all my attention off my own pain. Sandra wanted to know what would happen when I hit 100 miles two laps before Arjan. I reassured both of them I was with Arjan to the end. My own 100 miles plus four extra miles. We stayed just under our splits. Like all Centurion attempts late in the race Arjan had to reach deep down inside. Watching Arjan cross the line as a Centurion was more emotional for me than my own crossing earlier. The highlight of my weekend.

Sandra, Arjan and I. The Dutch Train.

 Photo by Jannie Bos

2017 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

My third Marathon at the Oklahoma City Memorial. I skipped this race last year because I raced in Australia. Brenda and I were glad to add it back in. We have a couple of favorite restaurants in the Oklahoma City area. Race and Eat. Hard to beat a deal like that.

Oklahoma in late April might as well be called Summer time. Hot and Humid. Surprise this year. Today was COLD. Cloudy, light rain, gusty west wind and in the 40’s for the whole race. Very unusual. My goal this Marathon, finish under 5 hours. Just a nice supported training walk. I have a VERY important race in The Netherlands in five weeks. The last thing on my mind was a personal best marathon. An exciting race with a bunch of other racers. Cool temperature. Well tapered. Rested. I should have known I would feel good. I raced within my ability. The whole race felt easy to me. Except for a few areas where you had to step in water over your shoes and the wind it was a perfect race day. I had no reason to push myself and I didn’t. However looking back now I missed my personal best Marathon by 55 seconds. Surely I could have walked 55 seconds faster. Oh well I am Very Pleased. Bubbling over with confidence going into the final training push before my Centurion Qualifier.

I finished with a 4:50:47.

 

2017 A2A Marathon

My fourth year in a row to race this tough local Marathon. I always struggle in this point to point Marathon. The race has a Big down hill stretch early in the race. Nothing wrong with that. It is that long hill climbing up out of the caddo creek bottom. The rolling hills on the last 10km that make it tough.

This year the weather was a cool 48 degrees with light wind. Warmed up to 72 degrees with 20 mph wind at the finish. I started stiff with sore shins. My legs felt like they were made of concrete. About mile four I loosened up. From there to mile 23 I was smooth and fast. Well under my PB pace. The race felt easy. Then in typical A2A Marathon fashion the headwind and hills took their toll around mile 23. I ran out of gas. Rather than push on and risk possible injury I just eased up. Coasted in. A great Marathon for me. My third best finish time. Best finish ever at the A2A for me. I knew going in my recovery from Cowtown was not complete. Very Pleased. I finished with a 4:53:18.

The advantage of a race close to home is my support staff. My grandkids Dalton, Aubrey and Grandmom. I was GLAD to see them near the finish.

 

2017 Cowtown 50K

I was not pleased with my Back2Back Marathon performance during the New Years double.  I was so slow it embarrassed me. I thought it over and added speed training back into my workouts. That simple change has resparked my excitement. As a result I set a Big goal for The Cowtown Ultra Marathon 50K. I wanted to finish sub 5:50. I have been thinking about a goal after I finish my World Centurion Quest. The Netherlands has an Award for any Walker that can finish a 100K in 11:30 hours. The Honderdman 100 Man Pin. A very tough challenge mix of speed and endurance. If I can not do a 50K sub 5:45 the Honderdman 100 Man Pin is out of the question. Test one for 2017 a 5:50 50K.

The setting, one of my favorite races. The Cowtown Ultra in Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth is always a fun weekend for my Wife and I. We Love it. The weather this year was perfect. 40 degrees with 20 mph wind and cloudy. Warmed up to 60 degrees. I dressed with shorts and a short sleeve shirt. If I am going to race fast I want to stay cool.

My goal pace a 11:15. I started faster than that and it felt easy. The whole race felt easy up to the marathon distance. I was almost two minutes under pace. Then I got that feeling. That feeling like my hamstrings were going to cramp. I have had those cramps before. I have to stop and painfully try and rub out the cramp. It blows about five minutes. Five minutes it took the whole race to gain. It is much better to just slow down a little. Keep walking but without the hard push. It worked. I sped back up. Then it happened again. So for four miles I walked the tight rope between a cramp and as fast as I could. I knew I was going to be close to my goal time. I just could not risk a five minute cramp. So I crossed the line with a 5:50:45. So close. I am pleased. I have only trained for speed again for seven weeks. After my Centurion race in New Zealand in October I will start training for the 2018 Cowtown 50K. The Goal……………..Sub 5:45.

   

New Years Double Marathon

Day One

My second year to race these Back2Back Marathons in Allen, Texas. A small very well organized race. This year I had no intentions of racing. Just using the race as a nice Back2Back training weekend. Training with a bunch of like minded folks with support. Four 6.55 mile laps on wide concrete sidewalks. It was a little cool at the begInning. It ended up almost too warm at the end. As I expected I have lost my speed. I never was fast. I could however hold a pace under 12 minutes with no problem. Not any more. I focused on 100 mile Centurion races and it cost me on my marathons. I am not worried about it. I want to join every World Centurion club. That is my ONLY goal. Marathon’s for training. I finished with a 5:24:53. Tomorrow will be very close to Centurion pace.

Day Two

Centurion training on tired legs today. I didn’t care if I finished dead last. I just wanted the training miles. To my surprise I felt good. If you ever think about trying a Centurion race. Try a back to back marathon. That second day will give you a good idea what a Centurion walk feels like. I finished today in 5:46:46

I really like this race. So much of the race is an out and back you get to see everyone many times. A very personal race. My only problem is when the race takes place. December is a very busy Month at work for me. I have dropped all November races. Now I will add December to that list as well. Spring and early fall races for me.

The Inaugural African Centurion Qualifier

The Inaugural African Centurion Qualifier on Robben Island, South Africa. October 22nd and 23rd. Not long after I joined the Centurion Brotherhood I heard this rumor. “Africa is going to have a Centurion Race”. I had my fingers crossed it was true and that the race fit my calendar. The rumor became reality and it did fit my calendar. I was so excited to race an inaugural Centurion Race.

When I first started walking January 2013 I joined a walking support site. One Member on that site was from South Africa. Dave Ingram. Dave has walked the Famous Comrades Ultra six times. Dave is a speed and endurance walker mix. When I started it was his training and finish times I tried to match. Dave also entered the African Centurion. Now I had a chance to meet Dave and walk a race with him. We were not alone. I was not surprised to see Sandra Brown had signed up. Success in Africa would give Sandra SEVEN World Centurion Badges. The only person in the world with seven. The elite field of Centurion walkers did not stop there. Triple Centurion’s  John Kilmartin, Frans Leijtens and Antoine Hunting. Double Centurion’s Robbie Callister, Pete Miller and Janette Morgan. Centurion’s Nour Addine Ayyoub, Suzannah Corkill, Richard Gerrard, James Quirk, Philip Vermeulen, Marco Bloemerts, Remy van den Brand, Vinny Lynch, Kersten Mosig, Werner Alberts and Chris Cale.  19 Centurion’s and 31 elite walkers seeking their first Centurion Badge. A large field of 49 racers. Looking at that list it is not hard to figure out what was about to happen. There was going to be a race for African Centurion C1. A walking race like I had never seen before. Racers walking my best ever Marathon pace for 100 miles. As for me I didn’t care what number I ended up with. I just wanted to finish.

The race setting was Robben Island. Since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of mainly political prisoners. From 1961, Robben Island was used by the South African government as a prison for political prisoners. The  former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid. To date, three of the former inmates of Robben Island have gone on to become President of South Africa. Nelson Mandela, Kgalema Motlanthe and current President Jacob Zuma. It is quite likely that the gravel we walked on was hand crushed by these men.  Now, Robben Island is a World Heritage Site and museum.

On Saturday morning we caught the ferry over to Robben Island from Cape Town. The wind howled most of the race. The waves were so big a bunch of racers were Turning green. Not the start to a long walking weekend you would want. Being the first time for the African Centurion all of us had many questions about what to expect. Most were answered after two laps. The view of the Atlantic Ocean looking toward Cape Town for 24 hours was not going to get old. When a race organizer tells you there is one small hill on the race course. Check to see how much mountain goat the director has in his family tree. Don’t trust his judgement. Bananas and potatoes are good race foods for endurance events. They are not the only good foods for endurance events. I might not ever eat another potato. The sun down here on Robben island will burn the darkest of skin. It can be the hottest place on earth and the coldest place. You will experience both in this race. Sometimes on the same lap.

When it got dark Saturday night the race changed. The 7km loop around the island spread everyone out. Most of the night you felt like the only person on the island. The only person in the world. There are a few movies that I watch every chance I get. One of those is Gladiator with Russell Crowe. Gladiator was on the plane’s movie list from Amsterdam to Cape Town. I watched it for over the one hundredth time. Two times in the movie the director depicts  Crowe as floating between earth and heaven. Both with an equal pull on him. For the whole overnight on Robben island I had the Atlantic Ocean on my right. The high winds were crashing large waves from Antartica against the rocks and old ship wrecks. On the rocks were penguins. Along the road were bleached clam shells that shined bright silver in my headlamp like a pirates treasure. Across the water stood Table mountain. The only clouds were in a circle around the top of the giant. Cape Town’s orange city lights went half way up the mountain. It looked like a lava flow coming down the side. Above to the right in the night sky was the Southern Cross. It was shining like new money. To my left was the islands light house. Sending out its beam of light all night. Just when you thought it could not get better, up rose a large half moon.  All night I walked in this beauty. I felt suspended between earth and heaven. I felt so exposed. So vulnerable. I could look into every corner of my soul. I could remember every detail of my life all the way back to my own beginning . It was a peace and euphoria like no other.

Then unfortunately or maybe fortunately the sun began to rise. As the sun climbed I fell back down to earth. I had some problems. My left knee was shot. I have had this problem before. It is from leaning. I was listing to the left. That put pressure on my knee. As my body gives in to fatigue during a one hundred mile race my core breaks down. Looking back now I realize doing two international Centurion races in 11 weeks was not a good idea. I was sure the second toe on my right foot would need amputating. My right butt check also was hurting. Amputation not an option. I had some extra time in the bank from earlier in the race. The way I was feeling I was going to need it. I managed to catch my friends Dave, John and Frans. I can’t start as fast as they do. Rather , I steadily plod along. I would be out of the race if I started as fast as they do. There was no visible clock at the race. I had to race by feel. The advantage of all the Centurion pace work I do. I knew what lap I was on but not the time I walked the lap. This caused me to push more than usual. I had one recurring thought. I did not want to have to do this again. Every Centurion I have done the finish is very special. I have never wanted to finish more than I did at this race. I loved the race. Yes as with any new race they have some bugs to fix. I promise you the 19 new African Centurion’s EARNED their numbers this weekend. Sandra Brown got her 7th Centurion badge. My friend Dave Ingram, well of course he got his Centurion. He lives for this kind of challenge.

I became African Centurion number 11. Finish time 22 hours 36 minutes 3 seconds. The most beautiful hardest race I have ever done.

africa11

 

Love this African Centurion Badge.

image

Adding up the Miles.

africa Photo by Vicus van der Merwe.

A great video of some of the African Centurion. A short cameo by me early on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06ZUZvbdW4s

 

105th British Centurion Qualifier

The Redcar Blast in Redcar, England. August 6 – 7th. The One hundred fifth year of British Centurion Qualifiers. That is Centurion Qualifiers at this club since 1911.  I have never seen anything like it. A 24 hour walking race with the atmosphere of a carnival. It looked like all of Northeast England came out to support the racers. Thanks to a Brilliant team of organizers and officials. An absolute joy to be a part of such an event.  A lot of pressure on me. No one has seen an American walk 100 miles in 24 hours in Great Britain since 1965. U.S. Centurion John Kelly is the only American member of the British Centurion Club.  One thing that made this race extra special for me was it was walkers only. Oh what a field of walkers it was. Six badge Centurion Sandra Brown. Four Badge Centurion Richard Brown. Three badge Centurions Frans Leijtens, Frank van der Gulik and Richard McChesney. Double badge Centurions John Bellwood, Jack Bertrums, Kevin Marshall, Alf Short, Martin Fisher. Centurions Sarah Lightman, Suzanne Beardsmore, Albert Bos, Jannie Bos, Richard Kok, Jimmy Millard, Ap van Gelderen, Gino Masto, Edmund Schillabeer. 20 Centurions in the 24 hour race. Plus 11 racers with the aspirations to become Centurions. I have been in their shoes. Never underestimate the ability of someone with a goal set that high.

In the shorter races there were 10 Centurions. Four Badge Centurion Susan Clements. Double Badge Centurions Karen Lawrie, Tony Mackintosh, Richard Cole, Christopher Flint . Centurions Mark Stephen Byrne, Daniel King, David Jones,  Luc Van de Velde, Herwin Weststrate.

The Race Officials included 9 Centurions. Eric Horwill, Kathy Crilley, Pam Ficken, Colin Bradley, John Payn, John Eddershaw, Sean Pender, Michael Hague and Pauline Wilson. I also met triple Centurion Gerrit de Jong and Double badge Centurion Bob Watt. After the race started I saw Centurion Tony Hill and Double badge Centurion Jayne Farquhar in support of her husband. 43 of the biggest names in World Centurion races. That many elite walkers at one race will either fire you up or paralyze you with fear. It fired me up!

The setting was the Redcar Esplanade. 2 miles back and forth along the seaside Promanade. An almost pancake flat concrete sidewalk course. The weather was very pleasantly cool. For an Okie to spend the first week of August with temperatures between 62 and 72 is like going straight to heaven without the judgement. Overnight and Sunday morning I thought I was back in Oklahoma. The wind gusted over 30 mph. There were times the wind stopped me dead in my tracks. Twice my hat blew off and I could not run it down because I would get disqualified for running. Both times supporters chased it down for me. A large food table. Separate Drink tables I like that set up. Grab a drink and finish it. Then grab a bite later. You don’t have to try and eat and drink at the same time. Lots of great supporters handing you cups, sponges. The food table always ready and loaded. This kind of support saves the racers time.

I trained hard all summer for this race. My goal, A British Centurion Badge. I also wanted to have an easier 100 mile race than my last three. Improve my finish time. Despite the Carnival Atmosphere and the cool weather I changed my race strategy for this race. I set a 13:30 minute per mile pace. That is a pace slower than I train. A pace slower than I started my last three one hundred mile races.  A pace I felt like I could hold for 100 miles. In all of my other Centurion qualifiers I started faster and later slowed. This race I started slower and tried to hold the pace to the finish. Make the race feel easier. And I would have a PR finish for me.  This pace made figuring the splits in my head easy. 27 minutes per lap. 54 minutes every 4 miles. 2 hours and 15 minutes every 10 miles. Figuring time splits gives your head something to do during the race. Later in the race figuring splits is hard to do. You have to really concentrate. It takes your mind off what is hurting. I like to keep my mind busy. What am I going to eat next round consumes a lot of my thoughts also. The best thing about an out and back race is You see everyone every lap. It is amazing what you can learn about someone just by Racing with them. I think this is what bonds the Centurion Brotherhood together so tightly. We race together. We suffer together. We fight the wind together. We Celebrate together. We all stepped on the same cracks in the sidewalk. We all felt the sun. We breathed the same air. We Shared the same food and drinks. We are One. We are Centurions! I felt so good in this race for a long time. I loved the set up and the elite company I was in. Just a comfortable race for Me. Very early Sunday morning the wind changed the race. A mile with the wind. A mile against. That mile against was a bear. At that point I started to feel the race. Once again the Centurion’s, racers, supporters and fans pulled all of us along. A BIG shout out to my sweet wife Brenda. Brenda stayed from Saturday afternoon, all night and then to the end of the race. She stood on the hard concrete. Was pounded by the wind and sand. Cold. Waited on my every need and want. A tired racer during a tough endurance event is not always a joy to be around. Thank You Bren. Love You Bunches. After the New Zealand Centurion Qualifier in October 2017 You can pick the vacation spots. I got my PR. Finished sixth overall. 100 miles in 22:19:37. My third Centurion badge. Half way to my ultimate goal of all six World Centurion Badges.

What a Great event. Thanks again to Redcar and the brilliant team of organizers and officials that made this race possible. 10 Racers crossed the One Hundred Mile line. Congratulations to Centurion’s Frank van der Gulik, Sandra Brown, Kevin Marshall and Martin Fisher who Added another 100 miler to their Britsh Centurion totals. Congratulations to Jimmy Millard and Gino Masto who added The British Centurion badge to their Collections.

Welcome New members to the Centurion Brotherhood. Colin Vesty, Kim Reed and John Borgars. I am so glad I got to watch you race on your big day.  My new Centurion Brothers and Sister. I guess I am an old softy. Just watching you finish made me tear up. Thinking about the flood of emotions you go through in a Centurion race all coming together at the finish. That is the kind of Brotherhood a Centurion embodies.

Yep. All that work for this beautiful Badge and Number. None of us knows what the future holds. British Centurion badge number 1169 will always belong to Rob Robertson

 

 

image

redcar

Post Race. Thanking everyone for a Great race with Great Support. Thank You Sue Clements for the Photo.

14117796_10205232838259168_1943416529175863170_n

Split times.

UK Splits

 

 

2016 Australian Centurion Qualifier

The Coburg 24 Hour Carnival April 16 – 17 on the Harold Stevens 400 meter track in Coburg, Victoria. A Big Thanks to the Coburg 24 Hour Organizing Committee, Coburg Harriers Athletics Club and Tim Erickson. If you want an over the top excellent Centurion event let a Centurion set the race up. Tim is Australian Centurion C13. Tim is one of the reasons I became a Centurion. He promotes race walking in Australia and around the World. The Australian Centurion website that Tim manages was about the ONLY information I could find about training for 100 mile walking races. Without Tim my journey would have been much tougher. This race was my first thought not long after my United States Centurion race success.

As usual I got to the Race Track early. I like to remove all stress on race day. Rushing around for me is stress. I would much rather arrive early, wait around and relax. I enjoy watching other racers. I was looking forward to meeting everyone. One person in particular was Double Badge Centurion John Kilmartin.  John became Australian Centurion C67 at last years event. Almost two months before my Centurion attempt in Minnesota. After His success I made contact with John. He was more than willing to offer advice and training tips.  John’s help gave me the confidence boost I needed before my U.S. Centurion Race.  John and I both share the same goal. We want every World Centurion Badge. John however is on a super charged pace than I could not ever consider. I was not disappointed. You know how when you look up to someone. Then when you meet them you thought they would be taller because of your perception of grandeur. No disappointment with John. In Real life and My perception John towers above everyone. It was great to see Triple Badge Centurions Justin and Sharon Scholz again. I would not be surprised to run into to the Scholz’s at every ultra event on earth. I also met Husband and wife Australian Centurions Terry and Karyn O’Neil.  I was pleased to meet the Double Badge Centurions from The Netherlands, Albertus van Ginkel and Sandra de Graaff.  John, Justin, Albertus , Sharon and Sandra will all five race the Continental Centurion Qualifier in The Netherlands in less than four weeks.  An insane schedule. True Elite Ultra distance athletes. I also was honored to meet Australian Centurions, Michelle Thompson, Clarrie Jack, Robyn Whyte. Long distance walkers Phil Essam, Saul Richardson, Albin Hess, Louis Commins, Blu Young, Dawn Parris, Val Chesterton, Sandra Howorth and John Timms.  A very strong field of Walkers.  I have never been in the company of so many Centurions at the same time. That in itself can be a bit overwhelming. No matter what Continent, Ultra races are like attending Big Family reunions.

The race stated at 10 am. All the walkers in lane three. Runners in lane one. This is where it pays to have a Centurion set up a Qualifier. Tim has the walkers away from the runners.  Just 388 laps in lane three plus a few steps for a total of 100 miles. After training on the rubberized track at home for two months I knew I would like that surface. The weather was perfect. Sunny and a little warm at the start. After a couple of hours it became cloudy with a nice cool wind. Over night was cold with about 20 minutes of light rain. Melbourne can have weather extremes. We were very lucky.  My plan was a nice steady 13:20 pace for the whole race. Set my gear bag under a chair and my food on top. Tim Tams every 30 minutes. I confess. The reason I train hard. The reason I do Centurion races is so I can eat candy all day and night. Australia has good sweet biscuits and lollies. Started off at pace. I was having stomach issues. I have the same diet day after day. However traveling the food is great but the little differences upsets my system. I also tend to overeat. The pace got harder to hold. Then along came some help. The Dutch racers Sandra and Bertus. They support each other, race together with a perfect pace to finish with success. I joined in right behind them. I knew if I just stuck with them I also would find Australian Centurion Success. For 80 miles in the race I did this. As I felt better I would pass them and then later join the Dutch train again. My next problem was sleep. I could not sleep on the overnight flight. I slept very little the next two nights in Melbourne. I really felt this lack of sleep during the race. Being an International Centurion race these issues turn an already Very Tough race to one even Tougher. Not something you really need.  At one point in the race we passed the big monitor that told what lap you had just finished. Bertus said, ” Look Rob you only need 100 more laps.”  In training on the track at home I would walk 105 laps. Several times during training I would do this 105 lap walk on back to back days. That second day would always be tough. Now I needed 100 laps and had already walked 288 laps. At that point I really thought I might not make it. I was hurting. I was sleepy. I was out of gas. If you want to be a Centurion for me anyway, the race is a real gut check. With about 60 laps to go I was finished. No food looked or tasted good. I had my Wife Brenda buy some Coke. This perked me up a little. With 22 laps to go I was down again. So close but I just did not feel like I could Finish. Brenda got me another coke. Tim Erickson and All the Australian Centurions, support staff, my Australian friends Kevin and Wanda who drove down from Canberra recognized my plight. Everyone was cheering me on. It was not till I got within 12 laps that I thought I could finish. I crossed the 100 mile mark at 23:13:53. Finished with 163.462K. 101.57 miles. Centurion races really are more mental than physical. I made up my mind this race would be a success ten months ago. Had a game plan for the training and the race. I stuck to the training and had to adjust my race plan. Now I am Australian Centurion C68. Got my name right under John Kilmartin’s name. Enjoyed everything about my first International Centurion Race. Tough but Enjoyable.

Our Trip to Australia was perfect. The Race. The other Athletes. All the support staff. We enjoyed touring the Yarra valley and along the coast. Beautiful Country. The people around Melbourne are a lot like the People of Oklahoma. Friendly hard working folks. People that appreciate what they work for. People that enjoy their free time. They are “Okies” that talk funny. This will not be my only trip to Australia.

image At mile 40.

image On the Dutch Train. John Kilmartin in back about to pass us again.

image Five Centurion Champions in this Photo.

Michelle Thompson Won the Women’s race. I wish everyone could see Michelle Racewalk. She has a grace and beauty to Her style that is mesmerizing. I Won the Men’s. This is the Perpetual Australian 24 hour Champions trophy. Our names will be added. On the left  Robyn Whyte a three time Australian Centurion. To the right Now Three World Badge Centurions Albertus van Ginkel and Sandra de Graaff.

Centurion68

This was very special.  The Jack Webber Trophy.  Only Presented if the performance during a 24 hour Centurion event is deemed a high enough standard. Voted on by the Australian Centurions present. I am very Honored to be have been considered for this great award. Thank You my Australian Centurion Brothers and Sisters.

ShirtBadge

I feel like I earned this Shirt and Badge. Hats off to the Australian Centurion Club. They do everything over the top. A proud Club proud of their members.

image Loaded down. Australian Centurion Badge. Coburg 24 hour medal. The Gold Medal is for fastest Male 100K. Trophy for First Place.

Thank You to Wanda Stewart for all these great photos.

A great magazine article about the Coburg 24 Hour race.

https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2016/june/1464703200/paul-connolly/foot-soldiers

 

 

2016 A2A Marathon

My third year in a row to do this Point to Point Marathon in Ardmore, Oklahoma. I get to sleep in my own Bed. Easy 30 minute drive to the race. The race officials take the racers by school bus to the starting line. An eye opening 25 minute ride that gives you a chance to fathom what your feet are about to do. The last two years we pushed 20 mph headwinds. Not this year. Cool with a 15 mph tail wind. The wind is significant because 19 miles of this race is all in one direction. My goal this year, just a nice easy sub five hour marathon. Sometimes races don’t go as planned. I just didn’t have my “A” game today. Nothing is wrong. Nothing hurt. No blisters. I just could not walk as fast as I wanted, For me anyway this hilly marathon is tough. There were more marathon racers this year. The support staff is Great. Water stops are about every mile. The A2A is a great race. I just have not figured out how to race it YET. I finished with a 5:01:53. The highlight of the race was my Wife and Grandkids waiting at the finish line. The race finishes on the track in the football stadium. I was the only racer in the stadium. My grand kids were so excited. They said, ” Granddad you won the race.”

A2A1

A2A2

2016 Cowtown 50K

2016 Cowtown 50K in Fort Worth, Texas. Last year I was trained and ready for this race. Two days before North Texas had a major ice storm. The race was changed to a half marathon. This year I was more trained and extra ready for this 50K.  The weather this year was perfect. Not too cold at the start, 55 degrees. Not too hot at the end, 75 degrees.

I just had a peace about this race. The plan. A five hour Marathon and then just five more miles at Marathon pace. Wow. Turns out it is that “just five more miles” that makes the 50K a bear. I felt good all race. I felt like I was holding back up to about mile 23. At that point I could put the pedal down or finish easy just under Six hours. By mile 30 I knew I had made the right choice.  The last thing my Wife told me when I went out the door for the race, “Remember Your race in Australia in April.” I picked the easy finish. 5:57:17. I am very Pleased. The 50K is a very good endurance test. I will race The Cowtown 50K every February. Love everything about the Fort Worth experience. One of these years that Cowtown 50K and I are going to see who is the boss.

IMG_0357

Cowtown

434970_222153427_MediumMile 24

 

New Years Double Marathon

Day One

New Years Eve Marathon in Allen, Texas. Just above freezing with light wind. Four 6.55 Mile loops at Celebration Park. Wide flat concrete path. I set a goal with myself to finish under 5 hours. I had to work to meet that goal. Not many Marathoners in this race. About half the race you are meeting the other racers face to face. That makes for a nice race. Seems more personal. I am not a big fan of concrete. I know they say that asphalt is just as hard. My feet disagree. Nice steady pace race for me. Worked a lot harder than I wanted. Finished with a 4:59:26. I have nothing left for tomorrow. Glad there is a 7 hour time limit. Looking for a nice easy walk in the park. Interested to see what my legs feel like tomorrow.

Day Two

Woke up this morning feeling a little better. Repeat of yesterday’s weather only with more wind. Cold and Windy. I dressed to stay warm. Did my warm up and thought, I don’t know if I can do this. I started at the very back so I would not hold anyone up. To my surprise I loosened right up and felt good. No high gear but the pace was comfortable and easy to hold. Just a nice Centurion paced recovery walk on tired legs. Perfect training. The New Years Double is a well organized race. Great support. Great Venue. Today I finished with a 5:43:27.

image

 

2015 UltraCentric 24 Hour

My second race at the UltraCentric in Grapevine, Texas. Last year I Walked my first Ultra here. The twelve hour. That race lead me to believe I could do a Centurion Walk. I have returned to see how much gain in fitness I have earned since my Centurion race in June.

Because of the flood damage in Texas last spring this years UltraCentric was moved to a .51 mile road course at Silver Lake Marina. I heard some grumbling about the short course. Not from me. My upcoming race in Australia this April is on a 400 meter track. That is Short. The new course was flat and paved. Perfect. The weather was cold and VERY windy. Gusts up to 45 mph all day Saturday. The only thing you can control in a race is your own training. You can’t control the course, the weather, the other racers. There is no use getting yourself worked up into a frenzy over things out of your control. With that mindset I raced. No pressure. Just line up and see how far my mind and legs could go.

My goal was to walk every mile between 12:30 and 13:00 minutes. Looking for a 12:51 Average for 24 hours. I started out even better than that 28 miles the first 6 hours in high wind. I was surprised that I only did 26 miles the second 6 hours. 54 miles at the turn. The night had North Texas first hard freeze of the season. I was getting much slower. I think the wind, cold and a sinus infection I am fighting took a toll. At 15 hours I was in trouble. Just no get up and go. So I forced myself into a 9 hour Death march. It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. First my wife told me I was leaning left. Then Marsha White told me the same thing. When the sun came up Sunday morning the shadow confirmed it. Leaning put extra pressure on my left knee. It hurt bad. The miles added up so slowly. The hours crawled by even slower than I was walking. I felt rough. Every mile I entertained the thought of quitting. For over six hours I wanted to quit. It was The great personal battle in my mind. With three hours left I need 11 miles. I started counting down 21 more laps 20 more laps….I reached down into places I didn’t know I had. In the last three miles I drank a two liter Mountain Dew. I would have let someone shoot me in the butt with a BB gun if I thought it would help. As cruel punishment I did an extra lap I didn’t need. But hey, I did it. I didn’t quit. I perservered. I found a toughness I didn’t know I had. That is how it should be if you walk 100 miles in 24 hours. 100.744 miles with about 12 minutes to spare. Fifth Place out of 30 racers. The only walker. First Place in my age group. This race has changed how I look at Centurion events. I still want five World Centurion badges. Double Centurions Richard McChesney and John Kilmartin told me no 100 miler is easy and each has its own unique challenge. A BIG shout out to my Sweet Darling Wife. I never got out of the car after the awards ceremony, because I couldn’t. She had to pack everything at the hotel. Carry it all down. Load the car. Drive home. Has waited on me hand and foot since we got home. All while shaking her head in silence. Thank you Bren.

2015 UltraCentric

 

image

tumblr_nn1h2kjcRk1t35af4o1_1280

2015 24 The Hard Way

I did the 12 hour race at 24 The Hard Way in Oklahoma City. Used this as a long supported training walk. I love timed races. This is one of the best. Perfect course. Great support. A must do race. The real truth is I wanted to see if all the hard work this summer paid off. A test of my fitness level. The 12 hour started three hours before the 24 hour racers. This should not make any difference. My race strategy should be the same. There was a United States Centurion in the 24 hour. Yes I am a Centurion also. But still I wanted to race my best. Look good in the company I was in. Add up as many miles as I could early. The morning was perfect. Almost too cool at start. Overcast all day. Light wind, cool all day. I went out fast. Sub 12:00 minute miles. I felt great. No taper and still fresh legs. After a month of messaging back and forth I met C48 Ivo Majetic. Ivo is one of the Worlds fastest long distance race walkers. A lot of pressure on me to look good. I raced a beauty. No where as smooth or fast as Ivo. He uses his arms more than I do. Perfect form. I did learn a lot about myself. I can push the limits of my fitness. Only issue I had was my stomach. Mister cast iron stomach had to fight today. There are so many different things that can go wrong in these races. I faded a little toward the end. Ended up with 58.44 miles. A personal best. Men’s Masters Champion.  Always a thrill to race beside another Centurion. It is a magical bond we share. Next up for me. A 100 mile attempt at the UltraCentric 24 hour in just under four weeks. No pressure in this race.

c3867691850862ebca8535b99c05b9ef_zpsjaskq50w

 

 

image

image

2015 Wildfire Half Marathon

This is the Second Year for this hot summer time half marathon in Denton, Texas.  Fewer racers this year than 2014.  This will be the last half marathon I sign up for.  I just enjoy the longer races more.  This race was a Bad and Good race for me.  I just do not feel fully recovered from my Centurion Race the first of June.  The Bad: I was right. I have not recovered.  I have NO high gear. I am sure the heat of summer has something to do with it.  I remember last summer feeling like my training was tougher than it should be.  The Good: The gear I did race at  felt like I could have held all day long.  A sub 11:00 minute per mile pace would be a new personal best Marathon.  Now that this race is behind me time to step up my Training. 18 weeks to the Ultra Centric 24 Hour.  Now I have a goal race with a deadline. That will help my training.

image.jpg1_zpsfppmzofu

Capture

2015 United States Centurion Qualifier

Wow! I set a goal of becoming a United States Walking Centurion. A goal much larger than myself at the time. I had to train hard, log lots of miles, devote a lot of time towards such a big goal. I had to become someone else. A much leaner, mentally tougher me.  29 months from couch to Centurion. Over 4500 Miles walked. 8 half Marathons. 9 Marathons. 56 miles in a 12 Hour race. Tens of thousands of push-ups. Thousands of chin-ups and Squats. Hours and hours of Planks. When I crossed that 100 mile mark I was flooded with emotions. It was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Nothing I could write comes close to what I feel.  I Did It!

United States Centurion C78

The 2015 United States Centurion Qualifier was the F.A.N.S 24 Hour in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The field of 24 hour walkers included a married couple Justin & Sharon Scholz  with Australian Centurions badges.  Two fellows from Netherlands. Antoine Hunting and Jantinus Meints.  Both with Continental and British Centurion badges. Long distance walker Ollie Nanyes.  A chance to witness some world class long distance walking.  The F.A.N.S. Support staff was top notch.  Very supportive. A big thanks to our event Judge Bruce Leasure. We have a U.S. Centurion qualifier because of Bruce. In Oklahoma most people would give you the shirt off their back.  U.S. Centurion John Greene and his wife Betty from Minnesota would give their shirt, home and most likely their car. Everyone involved with the race was positive and upbeat.  Walkers, Runners and Support staff.

My game plan was to walk the first 15 hours at an average pace of 13:47 per mile.  Giving me almost 66 miles logged with 9 hours to go.  That would allow me a nice cushion for the remainder of the race.  Not so fast at the beginning to ensure I had the gas to finish.  Part of the excitement with any new distance is the unknown.  I tend to be very conservative when I don’t know what to expect.  Slow at the start.  Quicker at the finish.

The race forecast changed my plans. An 80 percent chance of thunderstorms overnight.  The race officials would stop the racers if it came a lightning storm. The clock however would continue on.  With this in mind I rolled the dice on starting with a faster pace. The idea was to front load the miles.  Then even with an hour delay I might still hit one hundred miles. The new pace 13:20 for 15 hours.

I got to the race early.  Found a picnic table where I could watch everyone show up.  Meet Ollie right off the bat.  Ollie is no stranger to ultra distance walking events. Next to catch my eye were the Dutch Centurions. Easy guys to spot. What you would expect double centurions to look like. They sat across from me in the timing and lap tent.  Then the Australian couple showed up. You could tell from their meeting there is a magical bond between Centurions. They came from opposite sides of the earth but they had all chewed the same pavement. They had a connection and you could tell it. I so wanted to be part of that magical bond.

At 8am sharp the race started. First an out and back then 2.14 miles around Lake Snelling. A beautiful place to race. Lots of shade and big trees. One fourth of the course was paved path. One fourth a paved road. One half a graded dirt trail. The trail had some small rock and some one inch size rock. A few steady up hills and one sharp drop down hill. Many areas had roots and buckled asphalt from tree roots.

The race started pleasantly cool. I had no problem holding a pace a little faster than 13:20. That is good because they were telling us the storms would arrive around 11pm. I started to have a problem. Little rocks were getting in my shoes. It got to be a game with me. A rock would get in. I would adjust my footfalls. Try and herd the rocks to places that did not hurt. If the rocks all gathered under my arch or around my toes I won the game. When you walked the tangents on the trail you had to cross the one inch rocks. On my lap 8 all four of the centurions lapped me.  It looked like they were racing.  Not me I stuck to my plan. Every lap I had to go down that sharp downhill. It hurt to go down. Later it became almost unbearable. Every four hours you had to weigh in. Lose to much weight and the medical staff would hold you. It made you eat and drink every lap. No problem for me. I eat like crazy.  I never dropped more than three pounds. At the eight hour mark I changed socks and dumped the gravel out of my shoes.  Patched a blister on my right big toe. My sweet wife Brenda crewed for me. I never let her go to races. I feel sorry for those wives and kids that watch daddy take off. Then wait around for 5 hours for his return. She was going to crew for me and that was that. I am glad she did. The afternoon turned out Hot and very humid.  Not hot and humid to me but to anyone not from Oklahoma or Florida. I had just got my lap back from the Centurions. Then it happened. A rock jumped in the back of my left shoe. Got right at the bottom outside of my heel.  I could move it but only to the middle of my heel. I would just live with it till hour 16 and change socks again.  I noticed some thing about the Dutch Centurions when I passed them. They did not hold their arms at a 90 degree angle.  I tried it. It was perfect for relaxing my arms while maintaining my pace.  Then I saw it, Lightning flash.  Every time I passed the lap counters I counted it a blessing I could get one more lap. It came one of those Oklahoma Thunderstorms. It rained so hard all I could see was rain with my light on. The low spots had over ankle deep water. The water running off a nearby highway washed out two gullies in the dirt path. The road section looked like a river with Rapids.  Still they let us race and we were glad to do it. There was water. The dirt turned to slick mud. It was crazy. My friend the rock had made a big blister under the callus of my heel. My friend the sharp downhill hurt my legs beyond belief.  I slipped all over that dirt path. Waded through water. Walked around the gullies. Got where no food looked good. Wet socks for six hours. Every reason to throw up your hands and say, maybe next year.  None of us did that. We all five did what Centurion’s do. You keep going, You finish.  It really is 80 percent mental.  I needed 46 laps. On lap 45 it hit me. Empty tank. No power. I was out of gas. I used everything I had and nothing was left.  Brenda told me I could not stop now. I don’t know how I finished that last lap. I would have cried but I was too tired.  John Greene was at the little down hill from hell to walk in with me. I made it. Made the mistake of sitting right down. Almost passed out. No blood in my head. Laid on a picnic table for an hour. Brenda was so sad her camera battery had died. Would have made a great before and after comparison picture.  I knew a Centurion attempt would be tough.  Turned out even tougher than I thought.  Oh what a rush crossing that finish line. No wonder Centurions have a magical bond. It is a Spectacular event with lots of emotions and challenges.  A test worthy of a special name.  CENTURION!

My finish time  22 hours 37 minutes 49 seconds.  I finished after the Australians and before the Dutch racers.

5 New United States Centurions.  Bottom row L to R,  Antoine Hunting,  Justin Scholz, Sharon Scholz . Back Row L to R,  Myself, Jantinus Meints

Capturephoto by Betty Greene

image.jpg1_zps0fewudxx Mile 40. Feeling no pain.

Centurion-78

 

Finishphoto by Pat Sackett

The finish. Yea!  United States Centurion John Greene in the background.  Thank You John.

Split times.

SPLIT TIMES

11703072_764135450376383_6845163125297777843_nCenturion Rob Robertson

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Race Report

What a great Marathon. Both humbling and exhilarating.  Humbling when you think about the needless loss of Life.  Exhilarating when you see all the racers, support staff and folks out cheering.  Perfect day for a Marathon.  Cool, overcast and enough wind to keep you cool.  I used the 5 hour marathon pacer for this race. Lined up right behind the 5 hour group.  We started slow even for me.  It was just so crowded.  Just after mile two we got on a larger boulevard.  My pacer hits a 10:30 pace.  I guess he was making up the lost time.  Next water stop he stops and everyone drinks.  Once again he takes off on that 10:30 pace.  By mile 7 this is the pattern.  Stop for breaks and race to the next break.  I can’t race like that.  So for the next 8 miles the 5 hour group and I take turns passing each other.  At this point is a long steep hill over a freeway.  I hear the pacer say, we have banked a minute and a half. We will walk this hill.  Not me, I racewalked as fast as I could up the hill.  I was trying to put some distance between them and me.  I felt so good in high gear I kept up the pace to the finish.  Another easy feeling marathon.  I wore new model shoes.  Altra Torin 2.0’s.  Put about 40 break in miles on them the last two weeks.  I got a hot spot on my right inside heel.  Might have jumped the gun a little on using those shoes for a Marathon.  This was the most enjoyable Marathon I have done.  I relished every part of the race.  Soaked it all up.  Finished in 4:53:54.

IMG_0271

IMG_0273

CaptureRob Robertson

A2A Marathon Race Report

The A2A marathon is a point to point race in Ardmore, Oklahoma.  The Finish line is at the high school track.  You start with a very humbling 25 minute buss ride to the starting line.  This is my Second year to do this race.  My goal was a 5 hour marathon training walk.  That is what I did.  I got right on pace and stayed there.  I had to slow myself down several times.  My Morton’s toe on my right foot gave me fits.  It turned out to be a warm day.  Mid 70’s.  I adjusted my S-cap intake to one every 45 minutes.  It sounds funny to call a Marathon easy.  For me this race was easy.   Just the race I needed for my 100 miles in 24 hour training.  I will take a carbon copy of this race in four weeks at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.  My finish time was 4:59:12.

IMG_0268

A2A

 

Almost Done. Form looks good.

photo (3)

2015 Cowtown 50K Race Report

March 1st, The Cowtown 50K in Fort Worth, Texas.  Fort Worth had a snow and freezing rain event two days before the Race.  A big hats off to the Cowtown race committee and volunteers for clearing a half marathon course for us.  So my 50K turned into a half Marathon.  To be honest I did not know how to approach racing a half marathon.  Last summer I spent so much time working on speed and half marathons I burned out my legs.  Speed walking just takes me too long to recover from.  I knew I did not want to burn out my legs.  I did not want to slip and hurt anything on the ice. So, I raced by feel.  I felt great.  Wet roads and loose sand does not help the toe push needed to race walk.  Slush makes your socks wet.  I found my last Marathon pace easy to hold this race. I had a nice boost of speed the last 3 miles.  So, I had a very good Half Marathon. 2:21:56.  My legs feel great.  I am going to walk easy a couple of days then jump back into my training.  Skip my regular recovery week.  Just under 4 weeks to the A2A Marathon.

1a859dc5b97c072d0db5fdb4886e581f_zpse3dbc3b3

image.jpg1_zpsutrtj7zx