Two very different and completely unrelated posts in one...
Today a very good friend of mine, Jimmy Dean Freeman (that link is to his MySpace page), is running the Angeles Crest 100 for the second time. Last year he ran the 100 miles through the Angeles Crest National Forest in 26.5 hrs. This year he's shooting for a remarkable sub-24hrs.
For those wondering, yes that is 100 miles of running (and walking) through a forest. You stop at aid stations, unlike simple marathons where you run through, a let the aid station crew or your own crew refill your bottles, refuel you, sometimes change socks, shoes, get or drop off a jacket or gloves, etc. The trail is often technical single track and very rarely on fire roads. Last year I joined him for a training run on the course. He ran 42 miles and I ran the last 26 w/ him. Simulating race timing / conditions, we started the last 26 at about 11pm. In the actual race last year, I did pace him on a short (only 6 miles) and fast (Jimmy's a 4:30 miler on the track) downhill section after the sun had set (pacers are allowed only in the last 48). This year, I was unable to make any of the training runs and couldn't make it to the race to pace or cheer.
I just checked, and according to the "last seen" reports, he was at Eagle's Roost, 29 miles in. Jimmy's oft-told story of how he got into ultra running begins with a trail run he did with my dog and me 3 or 4 years ago.
Jimmy wanted to join me and my dog (my black lab-pit bull mix pictured on the home page) for a trail run. He thought he'd been trail running, but in fact he had never been real trail running, just fire road or dirt path running. What was supposed to be a 14 mile run over mostly technical single and double-track with many brutal ascents and descents, and only a little fireroad, a course my dog and I did most weekends as time permitted (generally a 2-2.25 hr run). However after five miles, it was obvious Jimmy needed to cut down the distance down, so we skipped an out and back loop. He also needed to skip the major single track on the back half with their quad busting roller coaster profile in favor of the smoothly downward sloped fireroad that paralleled most of what we were supposed to run. In the end, we only ran about 10 miles and my dog wasn't even breathing hard at the end. Jimmy ends his story noting that he wasn't invited to join us for another run for many, many months...
Now Jimmy is running 100 milers and I'm lucky to survive five miles. Go Jimmy, Go!
The second big news today is a follow up on Dan's post about USC v Nebraska.
All I've got to say is GO TROJANS !