Know No Boundaries
Keeping an Important Meeting - 2014 Prairie Spirit 100 Summary
With the 2014 Prairie Spirit 100 only 12 days ago, everything is still fresh in my mind. First & foremost, is the fact that I was running for a cause! A cause that was greater than myself.
I was running for (3) year old Lincoln Mouser from Bixby, Oklahoma who at (3) months old, had to have his right leg amputated above the knee due to complications that arose soon after he was born (premature, I might add). Lincoln was a tremendous inspiration to me as he is the perfect example of how we can all overcome obstacles. Although he no doubt will still have challenges as he grows up, Lincoln epitomizes the person who will not and cannot be stopped.
Coming back to this year's Prairie Spirit 100, I had an important meeting that I HAD TO KEEP. A meeting with (3) year old Lincoln who was to be at the finish line of this race to meet with me, & for me to present him & his family with a check from our fundraising efforts.
We started out in the dark at 6:00 AM in Ottawa, KS for a short 1 mile out & back before heading out on the trail. Early on in the race, we hooked up with Carolyn Glenn who we stuck with all the way to the turn around at Iola.
The trail was fairly flat (actually, it could not have been any flatter for a trail run) so there were no undulating hills; mainly a beautiful tree covered chat trail.
Interspersed between manned aid stations, were unmanned water stops (a great place to top off my hydration pack). First stop was the Richmond Aid Station followed by Princeton. Breezed through these on the way out as there were no "real issues" to deal with. As always, the volunteers were AWESOME!
Leaving Princeton, was more of the same . . .
(Note: I always seem to think of my camera on the outward part of the ultra. On the way back, my mind id definitely focused inwards.)
Plodding onward (it did seem like plodding at times), we finally arrived at the Garnett aid station where I had my first drop bag.
My good friend & ultra runner Polly Choate & her lovely daughter Lauren, manned (or should I say womaned) this stop. It was the only one indoors (a Polly requirement). Russell Bennett (another awesome ultra runner friend) lent a hand as well.
The next manned aid station was Welda & it was run by the infamous Trail Nerdz.
"WOW", is all I can say. These guys really know how to pamper ultra runners.
As a Vegan (as of January 1, 2014), I was thrilled that they had hot lentil soup (aside from all the standard ultra fare of fruit, PB&J, etc.).
Onward we ran. Carolyn & I had some great conversations all the while. One of which I thought of throughout the whole race. Carolyn relayed to me that during the 2013 running of Prairie Spirit 500 & 100, she hear some "snorting" on the side of the trail. My thoughts were that it was probably a horse or cow (or some other farm animal). Having been raised on a farm, Carolyn quickly corrected me to tell me that "she just knew" it was a wild pig! (NOTE: Wild Pigs ARE NOT your friend!). Well for me, I had visions of climbing a tree every time I though I heard a snort!
We had many creek crossings along the way, & I know that they will look different in the dark. None-the-less, we did cross many a "bridge over troubled waters".
I MUST ADD; all the while through each of the outbound aid stations, one person who I CANNOT thank enough, was a good friend & awesome runner; Travis Owen. Travis had my car & crewed a bit for me before his turn to pace me later in the race.
Finally arriving to Iola Aid Station, & the turn-around point, it was a good feeling that we were in in under 13 hours, giving us a good start back out.
Here, I was greeted by one of my ultra running idols; Ken "TZ" Childress (aka K1) & his wife Dana.
TZ is always great to see & always encouraging. I know that he wanted to run here (to make up for last year's blizzard) but recent knee surgery kept him on the side-lines this year.
Here is where I picked up one of two special individuals who made this race happen for me. Mishelle Wiggs Hancock joined me here at the turn around (about mile 52) & paced me for approximately 20 miles; back to the Welda Aid station. (NOTE: Mishelle was also instrumental in pacing me last October at Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd).
We started off by me apologizing for what would probably be my lack of talking as well as my slow pace. Mishelle kindly tells me to "shut up" & that she understands all of this.
We move out as the sun begins to set on a great first half.
As the sun set & darkness set in, my mind began to turn inwards. I ALWAYS felt that ultra running is extremely spiritual & contemplative (it is for me at least). It is my way of being able to turn off the outside world, turn inwards & focus on God. As pain & discomfort come at you full force, this turning inwards allows one to "tune out" the outside world & give ones full focus to our relationship with God, the purpose of life & our place in it (a bit philosophical, I know).
After a couple of the unmanned water stops & another pass through the Colony Aid Station, we were back at Welds (you know, where the infamous Trail Nerdz were). sitting down for a tad bit felt like heaven as did that wonderful cup of hot lentil soup. By now, it was dark & the temps were dropping so the hot soup was most welcome.
Ken & Dana Childress were here now as well as was another running friend; Charlotte Lindley & her friend Dennis. I had though that they were miles ahead of me, but I heard that Dennis had some stomach issues that he was wrestling with so after a bit, I bid them a due.
Here is where Mishelle passed the baton to Travis, who up until now, was crewing for me.
Travis jumped in full force & helped keep me mentally strong. From here, we had approximately 30 miles to go (not to mention numerous cut off times for each of the aid stations.
Off we went into the night; me trying my hardest to keep a decent pace & Travis providing what was going to be hours of conversation (even if it was often one sided).
Not too much longer after Travis & I left Welda, Kathy Hoover & roman Broyles cam in. Both looking strong (although Roman did seem a bit sleepy - - - really?)
Travis & I plodded (here is that plodding again) through the night on to the Garnett aid station.
At this point, sitting down inside was a very welcome luxury. Looking over across the room, I saw one of the aid station volunteers asleep on a bench & . . . . . (well, let me say a bit of jealousy arose for just a second).
I just HAD to close my eyes for a moment but as soon as Travis saw this, he immediately jumped in & said "Gotta go. We can't have any if this sleeping thing at this point."
Arriving at the Richmond Aid Station & grabbed a tad more hot broth to keep warm.
Travis was constantly aware of the cut off times for each aid station & stayed on me so we didn't dawdle too look (are you kidding me? I could use some dawdling at this point). He told me that although we were within the cut offs, we did not have much room.
Onward we marched (notice we are no longer plodding). Our last manned aid station on the course was at Princeton where I was able to see Ken TZ Childress & Dana again. Despite how I thought I looked & felt, they were extremely encouraging & bid me farewell as we took off on our last stage.
As we entered Ottawa (again) & I saw the Love's convenience store, I knew that we were there.
I was going to make my "important meeting"; my meeting with (3) year old Lincoln Mouser & his parents who were waiting at the finish line for me.
ELATION is the only thing that I can say to describe this finish. Mishelle & Travis brought me to a 2 HOUR PR of 27:36!
Crossing the finish line, I took off my hydration pack & just wanted to lie down; right there on the grass. I was greeted by the Mousers & a GREAT BIG HUG from Lincoln. Giving them a check from Know No Boundaries for $1,100 made the tears come streaming!
Oh, and one more thing I might add, one main factor that kept me keeping up my pace was the fact that Travis kept telling me that we were "okay on the cut off times, but didn't have much leeway.
What he didn't tell me, was that the cut off times were HIS times AND NOT the official race cut off times.
He had me more than an hour ahead of pace!
I think that I might have even been close to running negative splits!
All I can say is THANK YOU Mishelle & Travis. You made the 2014 Prairie Spirit 100 a truly EPIC Ultra.
God Bless all & always know to "know no boundaries.
A Leg for Lincoln
Most of you know that I am a passionate ultra distance runner. For me, it is both physical as well as a spiritual in that I have a lot of time in my thoughts when I can talk to God one on one! Several years ago, I founded this Non Profit Foundation in order to help people “break out” of self set, self limiting boundaries.
For some of us however, the physical aspects pose more of a challenge than for others. Such is the case with (2) year old Lincoln Mouser from Bixby, Oklahoma (adjoining Tulsa).
At 3 months old (still 1 month premature), Lincoln underwent surgery to resolve this problem. Although the surgery was successful, after a week in the hospital, a blood clot formed in his right leg blocking adequate blood flow. After no other options, the doctors amputated a portion of his right leg through the knee joint.
During Lincoln’s short life, he has already had several prosthetic legs & will need many more as he grows. I am sure you can imagine how fast kids grow, yes?
Insurance only pays for (1) leg per year & as fast as Lincoln is growing, it is not enough.
At $16,000 PER LEG, it is a strain on the Mouser family.
This is where the “running” part comes in.
I am running in the 2014 Prairie Spirit 100 Mile Endurance Race on March 29th & 30th in Kansas.
My goal is to get 160 people to donate $100. This is only $1.00 per mile of my 100 mile race.
(NOTE: This is the easy part. Try running 100 miles!)
As Know No Boundaries is a 501 (c)(3) non profit foundation, all donations are tax deductible.
Thank you for your donation & help to give Lincoln a “leg up” on life!
Thank you & God Bless You;
2nd 100 Mile Finish - Divine Providence
Driving to Tahlequah, Oklahoma Friday October 18th for my 3rd go at Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd 100 Mile Trail Run was exciting. I just “KNEW” that the
3rd time was going to be the charm. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE YEAR TO BUCKLE!
We had stopped at Walmart on the way to the camp ground to pick
up a few things & so Skip could fix the plug on the trailer. It was dark at this point & drizzling (Yuck!) as I stood there
holding a flashlight so he could fix the plug.
Once done, we headed off to Eagle Bluff. A block or two from Walmart, a nice lady pulled up along side us to let us know that the
trailer door was open! A quick jump out of the car & back to the back & I closed the door & we were back on the
At Eagle Bluff camp ground & Skip and I began getting the trailer ready for bed when IT HAPPENED!
Me : “Skip, we have a problem!” Skip: “What sort of problem?” Me: “Skip, ewe have a BIG problem! I am missing a shoe! The shoes that I am RUNNING
IN tomorrow morning.” By now, it was about 11:00 PM & still drizzling. Panicked that I was going to run in casual shoes or borrowed ones, Skip said
for me to get to bed & he was going to had out to look for my lost shoe. (NOTE: Really? A dark blue shoe, at 11:15 PM in the drizzle?). At midnight,
Skip opened the trailer door WITH MY LOST SHOE!
Now THIS MUST BE a Divine Sign that I was to finish & earn that coveted buckle this year.
After a good night’s sleep, I awoke to a cold morning & then a wonderful 8:00 AM start.
I was totally pumped! With my new found show (dry I might add), & tremendous excitement, we were off.
I have my crew in line & (2) pacers for loops (2) & (3).
I was set!
Loop (1) was beautiful in the sun however for some reason, many of the aid station volunteers said I did
not look good. I needed some “Go Juice”. I felt good, I just could not get my mouth & face to show it.
By the 2nd loop, I was in my groove. Mishelle Hancock jumped in & we headed off. When we
made it to the Mad Dog aid station, it was not yet dark (although it would be on loop 3).
This has GOT to be the aid station of all aid station. Kevin Lemaster at Ultra Gator did a GREAT job!
Matt Wisnewski jumped in for a 1/2 loop before Mishelle (my Angel Runner) jumped in to run again
By Mile 91, I was ready to be done. With no pacers left, Skip Gensert (my Crew Chief), jumped out;
jeans & tennis shoes & all; & paced me in for the last 9 miles!
At the end, I was DONE!
Well, ALMOST DONE.
What I needed, was that coveted belt buckle. The buckle that alluded me for the past (2) attempts.
This time, I FINISHED! God & me!
I am TOTALLY indebted to ALL who helped. It was not easy, I could not have done it alone.
Blessings to all & KNOW, that you can KNOW NO BOUNDARIES!
Working Out Your Most Important Muscle
Okay, so you finally make the decision that you are going to run your first marathon or maybe you have already been running marathons & want to “take it to the next level” by running your first Ultra Marathon (Note: An Ultra marathon is any race distance further than a marathon such as a 50 km, 50 mile, 100 km, 100 mile or beyond). As would be expected, there is a whole plethora of things that you will need to do. How far out is the race? What sort of training schedule are you going to need to ensure that you peak at just the right time to perform at your best on race day? Do you have too many miles on your current shoes and will need another pair? If so, will they be the same pair or do you need something different for the terrain on which you will be running? A quick visit with your local running store should be able to provide the correct shoes for your race and probably suggest a training schedule for you. There are also plenty of on-line sites where you can get a good training schedule.
With these two issues taken care of, you begin to focus on nutrition needs during the race as well as cross training those core and support muscles. Nutrition during the race often depends upon the specific distance and your race pace. For MOST marathons, a majority of runners can get by with a good electrolyte replacement drink (I.e. Gatorade™) and carbohydrates that are easy to digest and absorb (I.e. GU Energy Gel, Powergel, etc.). Be sure though, to do your training WITH these so that you do not have any race day surprises in your stomach. Strengthening core and supporting muscles in your local gym is also fairly straight forward. Although running mainly uses your legs (duh!), there are many, many supporting muscles that need to be strengthened in order to ensure injury free running and a solid performance on race day. Your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves all need to be worked in the gym along with your core muscles such as your abs, lower back, upper back, obliques, shoulders and arms. What you say? Yup. All of these “other” muscle groups play a critical role in ensuring proper posture, stride, balance and overall running strength that will be crucial during your race.
So - - - you now have all of this in place and in motion all leading up to race day. You have new shoes (broken in, right?), a great training plan, your nutrition is going well and you are feeling strong. Those early morning gym workouts are strengthening your entire core and supporting muscles and you are ready to Rock ‘n Roll on race day - - - Right?
One of the most critical “muscles” to train is above your shoulders, right between your ears! That’s right; your Mental Muscle!
You can perform ALL of the above actions with pinpoint accuracy but without properly preparing yourself mentally, it could all be in vain. There WILL BE a time in your marathon or ultra-marathon that your mental state will begin to unravel. You will be tired, physically fatigued and probably in some physical discomfort. You WILL begin to question whether it was even a good decision to even attempt the race at hand! Your mental strength is one “muscle” that cannot be overlooked if you want to successfully finish your race. You need to KNOW that you will be tired, fatigued, in pain and mentally unfocused at times. It is absolutely essential that you train for it. After your scheduled “long run” when your legs are tired, run again the next morning. Begin mental visualizations of your successful completion of your chosen race. Without the proper training of this often overlooked muscle, your successful completion may never happen.
After Midnight - Pushing the Darkness Boundary
"After midnight, we're gonna let it all . . . " Oh wait, that is not what I was thinking, or was it?
Lots of things change or are perceived to change after midnight. The sun has gone down & it is dark! Darkness has a way of changing one's perspective on things & capping or "limiting" what one is willing to do. Notice I said WILLING! Once the sun goes down, many people raise up that boundary that they "cannot" do certain things. As with most things, this is a self set boundaries. Sure you cannot tan on a lounge chair, but you still can go out to enjoy yourself.
If you happen to enjoy running, your boundary breaker is a good headlamp. Night time running can be a great experience physically, but also emotionally & spiritually. The sense of "being out there" in the dark, has a way of causing one to turn inwards & be more introspective. Analyzing one's life in quiet solitude. It also allows one to connect (or in some cases re-connect) with God. It is quite time within which the Ultimate Dialog can occur.
Mentally, it can be challenging & often times strangely eerie. Your field of vision at night consists of ONLY what the beam of light covers. This tends to create a sort of tunnel vision. Outside of this lighted beam, is total darkness!
It is in the dark recesses of the night, where one's imagination takes over.
"What was that moving in the trees?"
"Do you see "eyes" looking back at you?"
"I feel like I am being stalked."
These are just snippets of the thoughts that run through ones mind but they are JUST THOUGHTS. Thoughts that tend to push the limits of our comfort zone & give us the feeling that we cannot do it.
I am here to tell you that YOU CAN do it & you will be a stronger, better person for it. It will push you onward & upwards THROUGH that self perceived boundary that the dark has you bound in.
As we at Know No Boundaries are always WALKING THE WALK as well as TALKING THE TALK, we are running the 2013 50 Mile Midnight Madness out on by the TATURs (Tulsa Area Trail & Ultra Runners - www.tatur.org).
Not only will we be pushing through the darkness boundary, but through the temperature boundary as well.
Temps in the Tulsa area are hovering around the century mark during the day, so it will be getting might toasty once the sun comes up.
None-the-less, we will be out with our headlam
ps & our hearts to break through one more boundary.
Come out & play with us "after midnight" & have a blast"
Remember, there is no mountain top view without a climb. We want that mountain top view & are climbing without boundaries!