I ran 331 miles in 12 days.
Not all at one time.
In May I ran 167 miles in 7 days from Vernal, Utah to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In August I ran 164 miles in 6 days from Mahoney City, Pennsylvania to New York City, New York. All for MS Run the US Relay.
I learned a lot about myself and about running.
Want to learn what I learned?
- Getting started. Sometimes when you first wake-up and realize you need to run long, the mind starts telling you all the reasons why you can’t. Leave it to the mind and you’ll stay in bed. I found that getting my feet moving was the key to waking the mind up to what my body could actually do. When the brain gets on board anything can happen.
- Real Food is good. That just seems silly to say, but it’s totally true. I have tired most name brand sports drink, gels and the what-have-yous. Running magazines are full of ads that tells us what products works best. My truth is that sports-aid-items do not work for me. I have found that real food in the form of fruits, oatmeal, raisins, nuts, whole grains, and potato chips (I realize that potato chips might not be considered a real food, but it doesn’t come out of a tube) really works for me. I also like water over sport drinks. And Coke. Nothing like a cold satisfying Coke at 10 miles. Just the right amount of sugar, caffeine and pleasure; which can keep me going for another 10 miles. Add some potato chips and I will run 30 miles. Don’t even get me started on doughnuts.
- Beer – it’s an acceptable post-run beverage. I am a man of rewards and beer is one of those rewards that can keep me moving forward. Knowing that a cold frosty bottle of brew; which has my name on it, makes those last few miles bearable. Oh, there are some nutritional benefits, but who cares. Right?
- Shirtless running. When the sun is out, the temperature warm and the humidity is high I prefer running without a shirt. Please do not give me all that crap about sunburn, sunscreen and skin cancer. We were born to run and we were born to be out in the sun. Period. Give it a try, you’ll find it refreshing. Anton knows. (Disclaimer – local decently laws may apply.)
- Wear the right shoes. The right shoes for you, that is. A good running store, like West Seattle Runner, will have you try various models to help you decide what feels good. Pick the shoes that are going to support you on your adventure. I would have been nuts to pick a lightweight, minimal shoe to run 30 miles on pavement. With broken glass and dead snakes.
- High tech material can make you day. These new tech shirts and shorts will wick (a word a runner never said in 70’s and 80’s) moisture away from your skin. This allows you to stay cool and dry. Easy to pack, carry and dries quickly. Make sure they fit and will not rub you in all the wrong places. If they do rub, get some Body Glide.
- Have a great support person or team to help you. These will be people who care about you and will have your food and gear ready for when you’ll need it. They can also do your thinking for you when you aren’t thinking right. Just remember to be nice to them, especially when your Demon Side appears.
- Know your equipment. The morning of your adventure is not the time to try to figure out your new GPS watch. Or even a headlamp. You need to know how everything works before you even put them in your pack. Read the manual and experiment.
- Know where you are going. External input is nice, but comes with a percentage of error. GPS watches can be off. A nice person may not know what they hell they are talking about. Memory fails. It is your responsibility to know where you are going. Know your route and make notes if needed.
- Have Fun! This adventure is yours. You trained and dreamed to do this. Now, go out and have some fun. And be safe.
On May 30th, Clark Gilbert started on a running journey that would change his life. Leaving Vernal, Utah at 6:00 am, Clark ran 167 miles, along highway 45, to Steamboat Springs, Colorado – all in 7 days. His journey was a part of the MS Run the US Relay which began on April 12 in Los Angeles, California and will finish on September 6 in New York City, New York. The Relay’s purpose is to raise awareness and money to better understand multiple sclerosis and to find a cure. The Relay includes 16 runners who ran a marathon each day of their segment.
Clark is at it again. On August 31 he will leave Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania and run to Fort Lee, New Jersey. Stopping at the shore of the Hudson River, overlooking New York City, on September 4. His total mileage, after 5 days of running, will be close to 150 miles. This will be the last long segment of the Relay before the grand finale, where Ashley Kumlien (MS Run the US Relay organizer) runs while pushing her MS stricken mother, and joined by other relay runners, up and over the Hudson River into downtown New York City.
Clark is doing this to support conquering a disease that affects many people in San Juan County, as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest. “I am running to serve others” said Clark. “There are too many who can’t walk through their homes without some type of aid. These are who I think about when I feel like I can’t run another step.”
Visit www.runhappyrunhard.com for up-to-date information on Clark’s second run as well as his writings from his first adventure.
To donate to help develop an understanding and find a cure for MS, please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/msruntheus/clarkgilbert.
I know. You read the title and chuckled. Everyone does. It’s the Swedish word fartlek. Not fart lick, even though they sound the same. Fartlek means “speed play.” In the running world, any time you mix hard/fast running with a rest period it is considered a fartlek. What makes it different from speed training is that a fartlek is not as structured. I mean, doing speed training on the track might be something like 4 sets of 1 mile with 400m recovery.
A fartlek would be more like running a 7 mile loop, then running for 1 minute at a pace faster than race pace. Next, run for a 1 minute recovery. Or, you could run really hard from one power/telephone pole to the next, then recover. You do that for 5 miles, then run a cool down mile and call the day “good.”
I have found fartleks good in developing both speed and endurance while being a somewhat pleasant experience. Meaning one isn’t just running circles around a track for miles. Fartleks can be a fun way groups can speed train together. For example you have 10 runners running in line and at every minute the runner in the back sprints up to the front and takes the lead. This type of fartlek would be repeated for miles and miles.Not only a great way to build speed and endurance, but a great way to make and develop friendships. My running friends all love me for the crazy ways I come up to train.
This week we are going to look at jogging; what it is and what it is not. The story goes that famed running coach from New Zealand, Arthur Lydiard, made popular the term “jogging”. What Lydiard was doing was promoting a slower than normal running pace that also allowed for socializing. Instead of running mile repeats or intervals, Lydiard encouraged runners to head out onto the roads and run slower. Take it easy. Enjoy the sights. Discuss things. Solve the world problems or debate why liquid soap was invented. Jogging provided these types of experiences; cause discussing the latest Bruce Willis movie during mile repeats is not going to happen.Trust me on that.
US running coach Bill Bowerman brought Lydiard’s thinking to the US in 1966 by publishing the book “Jogging”. I own a copy of said book.
I hate to say it but some faster runners didn’t like the hordes of new and slower runners who were coming on the scene back in the 1970’s. Jamming up the lanes on the track forcing faster runners to the outside. Getting attention cause how they looked, which was more relaxed with nice hairdos. These slower newbies were calling themselves “runners”. Many faster runners, when running slower, were talking smack about all the new joggers on the scene. Newbies were more interested in weight loss/control and health benefits that running can produce than how fast they ran that last mile in. They couldn’t really care less if they were on the path for Olympic gold or not. They met as groups and ran around parks, neighborhoods and city streets. They began to popularize running as a social outlet. Joggers also showed that running could be really fun. Oh my.
Unfortunately the “running” group look down at the “jogging” group as a lesser group. Some runners would cringe if they were ever called a jogger and would quickly correct the term. I have had people introduce themselves to me and then say something like “I’m just a jogger. Not a runner like you.” As though their activity needed validation.
Does it really matter if a person is a runner or a jogger? Do we really need to have a “better than thou” stand for an act that comes to us from our genetic code? I don’t think so.I think we are all runners and joggers. They are one in the same.
I have had this idea for awhile to have a running term of the week. My friend and running buddy, Stan The Wine Man, has a wine term of the day, that he posts on www.blucid.com. By reading his definitions you can really develop an understanding of wine. One thing I do know is that Stan The Wine Man knows his wine.
I know running. Been running for, well, let’s say a while. I have ran on both road and trails, plus many loops around the track. I have also ran every race distance up to 50 miles. I coached others as well. My life’s passion is running. Pure and simple.
In honor of my love and knowledge I bring to you “Running Term of the Week”. Ta-da!
This week our term will be “Running”.
My definition of running is pretty simple – its the motion produced by the rapid movement of the feet. Not to be confused with the Fox Trot or the East Coast Swing, where rapid feet movement is a requirement. In order to really run one does need feet. Most mammals and lizards qualify. Slugs do not. Birds and frogs may hop. Snakes, well they slither.
Rapid movement of one’s feet is purely speculative and personal. Some people, like my old, dear friend Steve. Steve considered himself a runner even though he was slow, by his own omission, as sin. He, in my mind, was more of a plodder. After running with Steve a few times I realized that speed had no bearing on the question if someone is really a runner or not. Like I said it’s personal. Steve considered himself a runner. I was always honored to run with him. Slow speeds and all. Steve is now dead. Lost the battle with prostate cancer.Long may you run, Steve. Long may you run.
It’s like the old saying “as you think you shall become” or as the Bible says, “ For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If you (man or woman) think you are a runner and are spending time every day running, then you are a runner. No mater how fast or how slow. One foot in front of the of the other in rapid motion is running. Pure and simple.
People tell me that they could never be a runner. I tell them if they had something very big chasing them they would become a runner pretty quick. They agree. Granted, they would still be lunch or dinner depending on the time of day they were being chased. They would at least be giving running the good ole college try. For a block or two.
Next week we will explore the difference between running and jogging.
It has been close to a month since I finished my 166 mile segment for MS Run the US Relay. I have spent the past few weeks thinking and reflecting on my experience. I wanted to be really clear with myself before I wrote this summary. To say the least this experience was nothing but awesome.
My last day running for the Relay was a somber day. Rain fell the night before. The west wind was blowing in a storm towards the mountains I was running to. Unlike the six prior days, this day would not be chilly in the morning and hot as the sun rose, but just plain cold. I was to run 26.2, a full marathon. I was totally ready to go. After six days of averaging over 25 miles, another 26.2 miles would be nothing. By the time I finished the distance, due to logistics of finish line preparations, I ended up running 24.2 miles. I was a tad disappointed with the shortness, but seeing my sister Merit at the finish line made-up for any disappointment. Merit drove over from Cheyenne, Wyoming and brought Bill Sinack, the runner who would replace me, with her from Denver. Bill would go on to run 200 miles in 9 days. Bill did a great job. Also at the finish line was Ashley, Relay director and Lucas, our local running host. Thank you all.
As I mentioned my day was somber. I really didn’t want to stop. I would have kept running all the way to New York if I could. The cold storm clouds blowing in added to the sadness I was feeling. Good bye sunshine. Leaving the Relay was a total bummer for me. I was having so much fun – much like a summer camp for crazy adult runners. I missed Shelly. I missed Ammon and his family. I missed my friends. I missed so many aspects of my life, but found such a quiet that my soul really started craving more quiet. My sister, Carla, asked me what I like most about running for 7 days. I needed to think for a moment and then I replied “the quiet of the open road”. Just being on the road, running. Putting one foot in front of the other. That’s all I had to do. My mind thought about so many things and then the quiet seeped in. I began to think of nothing. This was such a cool experience, an experience that I have found to be most hard in explaining. I think this is what meditation is design to do, quiet the mind. I experienced an intense feeling of mental peace. This was what running this long road gave me – a sense of peace.
As I reflect back on my week of running for the Relay I have a huge sense of gratitude. No just for running. For Shelly who re-designed how we ate so I would have the daily energy to run as many training miles as I did, which allowed me to kick some butt. From the very beginning of this project, Shelly’s support was strong and much needed. Thank you Shelly. I have also have much gratitude for Ashley Kumlein, Relay Director and Aaron for their “handling” of me on the road. Their good cheer and dedication to my success help make this experience most special. Thank you Ashley and Mr. Aaron. You made me feel like a Rock Star.
There are sixteen of us running in this Relay from Los Angeles to New York City. These are amazing people who have gone to the road to log their miles for the cause of understanding and finding a cure for MS. I respect all of them. I am grateful for their dedication, not just to running the Relay, but finding a cure. All of their kind words and helpful tips were appreciated.
Finally, I appreciate all of those friends and family who gave to this cause of finding a cure for MS. I appreciate the trust that they had in me to go and run. Thank you for your support.
So many people have been asking me “what’s next.” Don’t really know. I do know that I am getting out the door and logging my miles; partly to keep my fitness up and partly to find that peace.
First of all, I would like to thank all of you who have given to the cause of MS research and education a very BIG THANK YOU for your donations. I do appreciate it.
Some of you might have seen on my web site (www.runhappyrunhard.com) or on the various social media networks that I have taken on a new challenge in 2013. I have joined forces with MS Run the US to raise awareness and funds to END MS. Read about it here ===> http://www.msruntheus.com/clarkgilbert/
On May 24, 2013 I will be running the first of my seventh back-to-back marathons starting in Vernal, UT and concluding in Steam Boat Springs, CO on the May 30th.
It’s definitely not for everyone, however, I feel extremely fortunate that I am in excellent health (all though some might wonder about my mental health) and I am running both long and hard to prepare myself for this epic adventure while representing an incredible charity.
Along with my pledge to run 7 marathons I have taken on the challenge of fundraising a minimum of $10,000. (This is where I need your help).
I am asking all of you for the following help:
- Make a Donation Today: http://www.msruntheus.com/clarkgilbert/ any amount can and will help because 100% of your donation goes to MS Research and Education. Checks can be sent to P.O. Box 3198, FH, WA 98250.
- Share this E-mail: please send this e-mail on to as many of your friends + family as possible. The broader net we can cast the more people we can reach and the stronger we can grow.
- Post on Facebook: “I just donated to, Clark Gilbert, MS Run the US 2013 Relay Runner. Learn more here ===> http://www.msruntheus.com/clarkgilbert/“. Copy and paste the sentence before into your status update to help spread the word!
- Lend Me Your Network: $10,000 is a large amount of money and I am not expecting my small group of friends and family to donate all of that cash. I am hoping that we can all look inside our hearts, find the one thing we all have in common, compassion. I appeal to all of you to share with me anyone or any company that might be interested in becoming involved with my crazy adventure and MS Run the US.
I am very excited about this new adventure and working with MS Run the US. I can’t wait to share it with all of you as I share my experiences leading up, during and after my run. Any help you can provide to myself and MS Run the US is greatly appreciated. Check out my journey at www.runhappyrunhard.com or www.seattlepirun.com.