Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ultimate Hike 2012: The Best Laid Plans…

I want to start out my final Ultimate Hike 2012 update by thanking CureSearch for putting on such a wonderful event! It was very well-managed from start to finish and I am glad to have been a part of it. Over the past three months, I have met some amazing people, have pushed myself beyond my perceived limits and have developed a new appreciation for what a few truly inspired individuals can accomplish. As of hike day, Charlotte Ultimate Hike had raised over $196,000 for children’s cancer research, and that figure is expected to exceed $225,000 when all is said and done. That’s nearly a quarter of a million dollars! Thanks to you and the hundreds of other financial supporters, we set a new single hike record for funds raised.

My goals for Ultimate Hike 2012 were to: 1) Raise money for children’s cancer research; 2) Raise awareness for children’s cancer research; and 3) Finish the 28.3 mile hike in 11 hours or less. I am disappointed to say that I was only able to achieve the first two of these goals, as an accident on the trail forced me to withdraw at Aid Station #3 (22 miles).

The day started out great. It was cool and overcast when I hit the trail at 7:15 AM. I covered the first 4.7 miles — to Aid Station #1 — in an hour and 22 minutes… a solid 18 minute mile pace over some moderately difficult terrain. The next seven miles to aid station #2 took a little longer (20 minute per mile average), but I was still making great time as I headed out on the longest and most difficult part of the trail, the ten miles between Aid Station #2 and Aid Station #3. This part of the trail was very rocky and uneven, with multiple elevation changes as it wound along the banks of a river. Somewhere between the 18 and 19 mile mark, I was crossing a shallow stream and lost my footing on the mossy rocks. I took a pretty good fall, bruising my left knee and cutting my shin.

Fortunately, one of the CureSearch team was hiking right behind me with the first aid kit and got the cut disinfected and bandaged. At that point, I thought I might be able to finish, albeit limping the rest of the way, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that it was going to be all I could do just to make it out of the woods and to the next aid station. And that was the end of my Ultimate Hike 2012 experience.

I did finish 22 of the 28.3 miles, but obviously I am disappointed by the outcome. After all the hours and miles of training, I would really have liked to cross that finish line. But, looking on the positive side, I know that I gave it my very best shot and ultimately made a difference — with your assistance — in the lives of children battling cancer. Thank you again for your support.

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Categories: In the Woods | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ultimate Hike 2012: It’s All Over But the Hiking

I completed my last long training hike on Saturday; 25 miles at Latta Nature Preserve. It was set up to be a sort of simulation of the real hike on the 19th, starting at the same time and with the rest stops at the assigned mileage marks. It went about as well as could be expected. Honestly, it was as much about confidence as it was about physical training. I needed some personal reassurance that I can actually hike for 11 hours. This was the first training hike in which I made extensive use of my iPod and it made a BIG difference. A change of socks at the 12 mile mark also seemed to help. Although my feet were very sore at the end of the day, they seemed a little less so than at the end of the 20 mile hike the previous week. Of course, that might also be due to the relatively easy terrain at Latta compared to Crowders Mountain. I will be hitting the gym on Monday and Wednesday this week, but will limit my time on my feet to a mile on the treadmill each session; just enough to keep loose. The Ultimate Hike has been an interesting experience, but I am ready for it to be over and to get my weekends back. Too many little jobs have been piling up around the house, and I haven’t been out on the water in over a month.

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Finally, Noticeable Growth in the “Back Forty”

Mid-May and my garden is finally showing signs of growth. I never did get my hot peppers to germinate, so I wound up buying a plant from the store. Everything else was started from seed. The radishes (lower left) are ready to harvest. The carrots have been a little disappointing. Only half of them came up and the ones that did have not been growing very fast. Everything else looks good. I am growing two different types of tomatoes, a modern hybrid (upper right) and a traditional heirloom (upper left). It is interesting to see how different these two plants have been through their growth cycles. I had 100% germination (5/5) with the hybrids I started, but 60% germination (3/5) with the heirlooms. The hybrid has also grown faster and much straighter. We’ll see how the yields compare.

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Ultimate Hike 2012: Entering the Home Stretch

Less than three weeks until the big event. I guess you could say we are entering the “home stretch.” I have completed two long training hikes since my last dispatch; Latta Plantation Park on April 21st and Crowders Mountain State Park on April 28th. The Latta hike was about 17 miles, and while there is not much elevation change on those trails, portions are very rocky and require concentration and footwork. To get 17 miles, I hiked virtually the entire trail system, including the Hill, Split Rock, Catawba and Piedmont Prairie trails. I even hiked one section of horse trail, connecting the Gar Creek Access back to the Welcome Center, that I had never been on before. It was also the first training hike which raised an ugly blister! I have been experiencing my fair share of foot pain, but hadn’t blistered until that hike.On the 28th, I hiked 18 miles along the Pinnacle and Ridgeline trails at Crowders Mountain State Park. I decided to try an afternoon/evening hike for a change of pace. The Pinnacle trail is fairly strenuous, with a steep grade and lots of rock fields, and starting later in the day I had difficulty finding my stride. It was also a cool and humid day which created a chill until I was completely warmed up. That footwork I had practiced the week before at Latta was certaily put to good use. The Ridgeline trail is an out-and-back, and since I knew the park closed at 8:00 PM, I had a strict turn-around time of 4:00 PM. I was actually hoping to get a bit closer to 20 miles, but made the turn just shy of the nine mile mark.

To get acclimated to the 5:00 AM Ultimate Hike start time I am going to do my last two short hikes in the morning, starting this week. I have a long group training hike on May 5th at Crowders Mountain and one last long training hike at Latta on the 12th. Once that hike is completed, I will take the entire week of the 12th off to rest up for the Ultimate Hike on the 19th.

I did get a little more good press over the past couple of weeks, with a short mention in the Lake Norman Citizen, which you can read here.

One last round of support emails will go out this week. I still have about $800 to go to achieve my goal of $2,500, so time is getting just a little short.

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