2015 1st half

Croom Zoom 50k

I ran Croom Zoom 50k in January. It was my first ever 50k. I go as often as I can. It’s a great course. A 10 mile loop that sent me running at the Withlacoochee State Forest on many weekends for many years afterward. I didn’t get a PR or a PW which is pretty good for a first run after a 100 miler in November.

Green Swamp

I had horrible bowel pains the entire first 25 miles. I was surprised I made it to a toilet more than once. The whole place was dry the last time I went but this trip was hell to me. It was a half calf mud, sections of sand, sections of knee deep water. I was not feelin the swamp. Especially since I didn’t want to poop in it and run through it again on my next loop. I did everyone a favor and went home at mile 25. I wanted a PR at the 50 mil but it wasn’t my day.

Fools Run – 50 miler

I ran the fools run 50 miler. I had a 6 hour 50k but I fell apart so bad that I managed a 10 hour and 30 minute finish by mile 50. I was weak. My training was poor. The course is fun. Partially the same as Croom Zoom but a bigger and harder loop. This year I wanted a sub 10 hour 50 miler but it looks like that’s out.


I’m going to California and I want to run the backbone from Wrightwood, up Pine mountain, Dawson’s Peak, and Mt. Baldy and back. It’s hard as hell and I don’t know if I’ll even have time. I may end up running inner city 5k’s and crying like Dawson’s Creek instead of climbing Dawson’s Peak. I’ll just have to see how it pans out. I hope I can get 6k in climbing while I’m there so I can finish the Strava Dipsea Challenge. I’ll try. 

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The view from the N00B

So here I am a N00B again. I can’t run far. I don’t feel that excited about anything coming up on the race calendar in the area.

Now I can only get faster and I’m not excited about that. It makes for hard training. I want to run my places and not races. Places with sun, grass, and trees. No people. I like to watch the sun spiral meaninglessly around the earth as I jog. I like to meet animals in the woods and see through their eyes for a while.

It’s a break from work for an auditor. I never see the outside. I can’t move my body and get paid like I used to in the Air Force fixing equipment in the heat and cold. No flight line view at my desk anymore.

That moment when you fall asleep for a moment after a long hard effort. That’s what it’s all about. If I want that now I have to physically make it happen. I have to leave home. Run. Make an effort.

I am slowly picking my mileage up again. 7, 14, 21 miles per week. Slow and steady. Not sure where I’m headed yet but I’m pretty sure it’ll include Green Swamp 50 miler in March.

I want my hour back
I ran the wrong way and got lost running for a whole hour at Green Swamp 50 miler in 2013. It has been 2 years. My anger is sufficiently built up. I am ready to go again.

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Wild Sebastian 100

Pre Race
6 times I had tried to run 100 miles and not finished. Outside my two attempts at other courses on different surfaces, one on road and one on mountains, all of the other four attempts were on this course. None of those attempts were crewed or paced attempts so this time I asked fellow runners for help. A medical researcher sent out an email that he would be researching at the race also so I signed up for it. I booked a hotel room for the duration of the race.

Race day
I got up at 4 am and ate a Larabar and showered and applied sport shield and put on my injinji toe socks, north face shorts, zansah calf sleeves, wild Sebastian shirt, salomon two bottle waist pack, a Garmin 310 xt, a polar hr monitor watch, and a zombie runner hat that came free with my trail Hoka’s that I put in a drop bag. I loaded my drop bags in the car and went to the race.

I got out of the car and took off my Altra casual shoes and put on my Hola road shoes. I took my drop bags to the start area. As I milled about I noticed that my pacer and his girlfriend were already there! We stood around chatting. I actually got back my hat and glasses from Keys 100k (yeah that’s what I call my 65 mile DNF)! That was a surprise! So I put the glasses on and we lined up. 3, 2, 1, go!

Lap 1
All 25 miles of lap 1 here we go! It was 55 degrees at the start. I could tell because it was that exact temperature where my fingers start to tingle in the cold when I run. It was great! Staying in my hr zone under 145 bpm I jogged along slowly but without any of the fear or anxiety that I had felt in previous attempts. This was an old hat. I felt more like I was jogging on my usual route than exploring anything new. I pretty much cruised around lap 1 a little over 5 hours, slightly slower than my goal pace, and had a good time seeing the Sebastian River Preserve again.

Lap 2
It’s getting to the hotter part of the day by now. Back at the start finish again and I had the same problem as last November. I forgot to take salt and hit a low at 26 where my heart rate went to 161 and my pace went to 13:30. I got frantic and thought I was dying for a second until I realized that I had forgot salt. Soon after I took it my pace returned and my hr went back to less than 145 at higher pace. I was back on schedule and cruising. By the time I rolled through mile 50 I had a worst case scenario time for lap 2 of 7 hours. I was pretty pissed about it. I knew this wasn’t my best effort but all I could do was try to not fall all the way off the backside and DNF again. Anyway that was impossible now. My crew and pacers were in full swing. I really would have dropped right at mile 50 if not for them. My pacer dragged my corpse around the next 10 miles in a series of games where he would walk fast, I had to run to catch up, then he would run with me until I stopped again. At this point the game would start over. It worked. We got there. Handoff to a new pacer. Walking out of mile 60 my legs were shutting down. I was in a full death march. 20 minute miles. Pacer tried to get me to take an ibuprofen and I refused and marched all the way to 64. Seriously check out the Strava data for this mile on my 74 mile chunk. So at 64 they asked me if I needed anything and I went full crazy mode and said I guess I’m going to need that ibuprofen or I’ll never get out of this death march. I didn’t believe it either but it actually worked! I could go again!

Mile 75
Mile 75 in just under 20 hours! I was ok with that. I was slightly faster than worst case scenario pace. I wasn’t really proud of that but at the same time I just beat my last time to this distance by 3 hours so I was a little excited. This was it. Lap 4. I had dreams of it for four previous attempts. I was ready to get it over with. What was all the hype about anyway? So off I went! Well, after a change into my trail Hoka’s. Aid station 1 mile 78 more ibuprofen and goodbye. Aid station 2 to aid station 3 was a run/walk. I switched into a white long sleeve shirt in case it would get hot and I dumped my headlamp and applied sport shield again for the first time. I got really tired after the sun came up out there after mile 80. It was hard to stay awake. I fell into a death march at mile 92 that was so bad that I could not sit at aid stations anymore because of too much joint pain in my knees.

Back at aid station 3 after 15 more miles. I now had only 5 miles to get back to my car! But not like that. It was more like an infinitely long 5 miles in heat and too much joint pain to run at all. Yet somehow, it really was just easy breezy miles. Even the part of the course that I hate hate hate the most, the grassy open stretch by the freeway, was a joy to cross for the last time. I walked right past the last aid station. I was done. I just wanted it to be over. I was right around 28 hours with 2 miles to go. This finish was slower than any of the 100 finishes of any of my pacers but then none of my pacers have a finish on the Wild Sebastian 100 course.

I was happy. I appeared to be reaching the finish without anything that felt like a long term injury. I had about 5 blisters on each foot, my body ached, I had a sunburn, and I had lost my voice talking to my pacers for so long. My pacers encouraged me to run to the finish but I could see the clock now. I had 4 hours to get there. I was all about minimizing risk now and just getting there comfortably. So I walked until about 400 meters from the finish line and then I made a slow jog across the line to finish in 28:26:17. I had finished my first 100.

Pain city
So when I sat down the pain did the opposite of what Liz Bauer (current record holder of most 100’s in a year) said it would do. She said all the pain would go away. Well! When I sat down my knees exploded with pain my body began to shake. I fell asleep and drooled as my crew tried to get me to eat pizza. So I ate a slice and had a sample of a great beer Drew Goletz brought for the finish.

I sat there with Drew Goletz, Joyce Luloff, Sandra James Garrett, Michael Turner and his girlfriend Dhalia who all ran part of the course with me. I was overwhelmed that they had actually pulled me through it. Thank you to the finest crew I could ask for! Better Miracles Today – that’s what they did all day and night. Whatever kind of a miracle you think you can pull off – a crew can do it better. Believe it.

Hotel hell
Yeah, the pain gets a lot worse in the next 24 hours. I spent from when Michael Turner dropped me at my hotel until 11pm sleeping for an hour, then waking, then walking like a 100 year old and crawling into a tub of cold water, draining it and showering and returning to bed. I repeated that every hour until 11pm just dreaming of food but too tired and immobile to get any.

You see, in my tiredness, I had went up to my room with only my dirty stank mud covered running shoes. I had taken them off and popped all the blisters (one with thick red blood) so I wasn’t wanting to put them back on. So I walked, at 11pm, like a lost 100 year old in his socks to my car at 1 mph and got shoes from the backseat and put them on and went to the front and lifted my legs in and drove to Wendy’s and got a spicy chicken sandwich combo meal large with a frosty. I finally slept after that and left in the morning. My buckle and me.

What’s next
I’m still recovering. I have room for improvement at all distances except for maybe 5k. I’m going to rest a while and try to learn how to make my joints not swell up like softballs. Then I suppose I’ll start by not getting a PR on a 5k somewhere. Ha! See you all out there on the run. At least you weren’t fool enough to run 100 miles as training for a 5k.

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Sisyphus’s Rock

Originally posted on elroyjones:

I haven’t changed one bit since the last time I posted. In fact, I am more like me than I ever was. All this in spite of the fact that things around me are are changing. I may or may not be trekking the path of most resistance.

I don’t think we own any of the planet, regardless of the pieces of paper that say we do. I have never owned a house or land. I’ve never had any desire to own things and become responsible for them. I have always been a tenant, coming and going as I please, without any hounding obligations. I am not a fan of responsibility for anything other than the boundaries within my reach, the stretch of real estate I call The Self. My husband is very different. He has owned commercial fishing boats and houses and stuff out the wazoo. He likes the challenge…

View original 950 more words

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Summer 2014

I ran a night 21 miler at an event called Moon over Croom. I’ve only ran on that course about 100 times. I didn’t win or come in last. It was epic for short distance runners who had never run at night before. Personally, I’d run solo at night there in both lightning storms and in the sound of the gunfire of poachers there so it was just a non event for me. Probably a good thing. I didn’t shower afterward. Then I woke up the next morning and ran 11 more miles. I smelled so bad that I quit running for a week afterward. Epic stink. If you ever question if you should shower between runs – just do it.

I ran the 46 mile Pinellas trail challenge. It ran the opposite direction of the previous year which I also ran. I made it. Blister free. I lost 20 minutes at the end hiding in a Walgreens bathroom 1/2 mile from the finish. After the storm blew past I jogged to the finish. I liked it better the year before. There was aid this year every few miles. Last year there was only one stop and the race got hotter and more ghetto all the way in. I appreciated that. It made it funnier to me running into the city than out of the city.

I ran some solo miles in the Mojave desert out by my dad’s house. My lips were burned for a week afterward. It was 103 degrees and I ran hill repeats and I sounded like someone kicked me square between the legs when I got finished. It was hard and it was only 4 miles. This is why I didn’t run cross country in high school. This is what it was like where I grew up.

I ran some miles in the mountains of CA alone. I only heard a bear once 3.5 miles from camp and it was behind me so I was cool with it. Wow I really want to move back there. I’d give up ultras if I could live there and jog 5k’s in the mountains and jump in a cold lake afterward.

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Keys 100

I got a DNF at Keys 100 at mile 65. I donated my unused shirt and race bag to the Paralyzed Veterans of America. My previous blog about the topic was so depressing I deleted it. That is all.

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Iron Horse 100k

Pre Race
I always take a Friday off before Iron Horse 100k. It’s always valentines day. That means a goodbye lunch with the wife. By the time I get out of Tampa with a packed car it’s time to get going to Palatka, FL. I always stay at the Crystal Cove Resort. They have a restaurant and bar on the St. John’s river. The rooms are cheap and the view is worth it. The pre race briefing was at the start line and they have stuff for sale there so bring cash. A little bit of water is on the course was the warning we got at the pre race briefing. Now I had to decide if I wanted to risk GorTex shoes or not. If it is over ankle deep your GorTex shoe will fill full of water and it’s game over. Lucky me I packed every single pair of shoes I could find.
Race Morning
It rained hard in the car on the way to the start. The good news is it passed before I got to the start. The weather was perfect all day. The night before I had settled into my Mizuno road shoe since they drain well. 10 minutes before the start I switch into my Hoka’s. 30 seconds before start I decide to peel my jacket off and put it in the car. The gun goes off. I’m now running the opposite direction of everyone else as I head to my car with my jacket. Typical me, I thought, running the wrong direction full speed. So I get that sorted and make the start 60 seconds after the gun went off.
To AS1
Out and back on the now paved rail trail. Flat and fast. Dry. New paved bridges. Scenic and fun.
To AS2
This section is where a little incline training can start to help. There’s a mile straightaway with a 50ft climb. Just enough to grind at you on the uphill and feel like it’s not there on the downhill. If you can find something that mimics this in training it can help. There are several miles of +50 then -50 on the course over mixed terrain.

So after the paved straightaway, you turn onto a dirt powerline road with a few ups and downs before making the AS.
Out and Back
The first out and back from AS2 is flat hard packed sand. There was water here over ankle deep in one spot 10 feet across. Having seen much worse water crossings in longer races I run straight through it while other runners screech “eww!” And try in vain to go around. I tell them to stop waisting time and to go right through it. Always pick the fastest shallow route through water on the trail. Going off trail is always a waste of time in my opinion and the tendency is to get mud in your shoes rather than water if you do try. Since blisters come from heat, water, and friction mud can provide a vital third ingredient for your foot to make one if you let it.
Second out and back
This section has a few 50 ft ups and downs also. Sharper grades but same overall elevation per mile as AS1 to AS2. It’s a great change of pace. More twists and turns than I expected. Nothing of the old world of Iron Horse – a mental hell of railroad gravel and grass straightaway that went on FOREVER. Also in this section is a wood bridge over a nice stream. Don’t be fooled – come the mile 40’s this is clearly the hardest part of the course.
AS2 to Finish
Back up the powerline road onto the paved rail trail and back to the finish. So this is the loop. 4 times for the 100, twice for the 50.
100k out and back
So by now I’ve done the loop twice, I’ve headed back out. No jacket, headlamp in my waist pack. It got cold. I wish I had brought my jacket. Anyway, that’s probably my own fault, I didn’t expect the 3 mile out and back to take a whole hour! I was really sucking as a runner by now. Mostly walking. What could I do? Back at the Start I switched into my GorTex Montrails I had intended to run Iron Horse in and put on my jacket only despite feeling like I needed arm warmers too. I hoped being cold would help me keep moving and it did. After I left the car I saw another runner I knew come flying into the finish 9 miles ahead of me. I was going slow but it was PR time for me. 11 hours and 30 minutes into this thing with less than 9 miles or 10k to go I had a full 3 hours to get a PR. So I ran to AS2 – an by run I mean 4.5 mph. Yeah, I was weak and tired by now and doing the 100 miler scuffle jog I learned during all my 100 miler DNF’s. I get to AS2 and let the workers fill my bottle for the first time all day. Maybe I’m against germs? I dunno. Anyway, I go the 0.3 of a mile and turn around at the 100k turnaround alone in the dark cold night but it feels like Christmas morning to me. I did not make it here in 2011 as I dropped at 50 mile that year. Hell, I had only run 50k once prior and only had a 20 lumen headlamp with me that year so I was lucky I didn’t try anyway – I wasn’t ready.
AS2 to Finish
Sketchy stuff. There’s the same homeless guy at the mile 17 signpost on the rail trail from 2011. Then I pass a lady, with NO HEADLAMP in the pitch dark who told me on lap 2 that she didn’t have one because she planned to finish before sundown. A quick note to anyone who wants to Run Iron Horse 100k – the road to hell is paved with good intentions. No matter what your pace plan is bring a headlamp. I can’t imagine what it must have been like on the powerline road in the sand and roots with no light.
So I run the last mile to the finish and get my buckle. Go to the car, get my recoverite from the race bag and drink it by the burn barrel. Success!
Thank you Iron Horse
This race has the best aid station volunteers and race director and medical staff ever. Maybe that’s because I’m a veteran but I really felt at ease with the way the ROTC ran the aid stations. It was a tight ship. Very top notch stuff. If it were my own race I wouldn’t do even one thing different. Thank you to everyone that helped make the Iron Horse Endurance Runs such a great success!
Post Finish
Then I head to my car to go back to the hotel and grab a shower and to get a beer at the hotel bar – it’s only 9:00! I shake violently in the cold from the burn barrel to the car. My heat works in the car today so luckily I stop shaking. Back at the hotel I peel of my calf sleeves and shoes and look at my Achilles’ tendon and scream! It’s the size of a carrot and beat red. I honestly thought I snapped it clean off. After my shower I did the zombie leg drag from my room to the hotel bar. In my head, I thought it closed at 11pm but the sign said 10pm and it was 9:58pm. I went in. They were closing. The nice bartender offered to sell me a beer but I really wanted food so I left. I ended up eating Taco Bell in my hotel room. A fine victory meal for me. I kind of wanted a beer by the river but I’ll survive.
Final Damage
2 weeks since the race. I have been diagnosed with a strained foot tendon. Not the Achilles – that one is actually fine. It’s an anterior tibial is tendon or some such nonsense. I can point to it but don’t ask me the name of it. I’m a jogger not a doctor. This is a recurring thing for me. 3 weeks off and some strength work should get it back up and running. I could run today but that’ll make long term recovery take longer. But I get to eat a lot of Girl Scout cookies on the couch. I joined a gym too. I blame this injury on not following the strength training advice given to me in 2010 by a DPT. The gym should help.

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Wild Sebastian 11/2013

Mind Fail

Well, it was a hard road back to Wild Sebastian. I had 3 previous DNF’s at the 100 miler finishing at 25, 50, and 75 previously. I began to feel the small voice telling me that I just can’t do this distance. To take a word from Grady in the Shining “We think your heart isn’t in it. Maybe you haven’t got the stomach for it.”. Something within me keeps wanting to get out and try to kill it even if I end up froze up in a mental maze again.

The New Toughness Training for Sports

So I  bought a copy of the about titled book by James Loehr, EdD. and decided that everyone must be right. It’s my mental game that is falling apart during the 100 miler. I complete all of my training plans on schedule. I seem to eat ok. I’ve got my feet figured out. So I bought the book. Page 38 of the book makes you run through a little test to find 4 weaknesses to focus on each day for one month and restart each month. So I took the test and held to recording the training for TWO DAYS. It’s still taped to my desk. I thought that I would just try to keep up with it mentally without a paper copy since I missed a couple days. I made some strides in my 4 areas.

Race Day

I didn’t feel nervous as I had previously. It actually entered my mind for the first time before this event that running 100 miles might not result in death and may actually result in returning healthier than before – god forbid I let myself think that! I ran a standard sub 6 hour loop 1 (25 miles). I got back to the start line, I looked into my drop bag, I did a quick assessment. Do I need anything in here? No. Off I went. A mile later I realized I was out of Gel and salt that I looked right at and decided I didn’t need!?! I was clearly in some sort of brain fog in the heat of the day. I was pulling 3 mph for 2 hours from just past the start to aid station 2. I was, in my head, cussing the salt. I would no damn way drop at Bob Becker’s aid station. He’s the damn Keys 100 director and I’m headed to his race in May. He did save the day with a few salt pills that allowed me to complete lap 2.

So what the hell happened this time?!?

I was running out of aid station 3 and caught up with one walker with no light at night, when I decided to walk it in. So I just went into group think and went with her and a few others who also caught up in a big night walking group of 5. We walked all the way to the start. Everyone decided to drop at 50. Ted Cory ALMOST had me running again but I wasn’t hearing it. Some others yelled at me with disappointment. Didn’t buy that either. 

But WHY?

Each time I hit the start finish I seemed to be in a fog. I was cycling my running form focus and daydreaming purposefully. I guess I started to hit a low and went with it. But why? How had I forgot to stay motivated? Holy shit! That is the answer. The next morning I realized that the word motivated never even entered my head the entire race. I hadn’t ran through my 4 mentally weakest areas AT ALL even once during the race. If you want to keep going you need to stay motivated. I went into cheeseburger mode and went to eat McDonalds. It was really good. 

Excuses Summary

This is just for fun to piss off some overly motivated 100 mile runners:

Blisters before mile 20!

Blisters underneath other blisters before mile 50.

Wrong Shoes leading to knee pain.




Rain at night.

No water crossing.

Out of salt.

Out of Gel.

Out of Endurance Aminos (included in salt drop).

Out of Anti Fatigue Caps (included in salt drop).

Backpack and a water bottle (seriously, that is redundant bullshit).

Asch conformity yielding.

Not enough slack.

Too much slack.

The right amount of slack.

Assumptions about future splits making finishing impossible.

Forgetting the word motivated.

Worrying about liver function.

Worrying about kidney function.

Worrying about urine color.

Not worrying about urine color.



Lack of competition at the back of the pack.

Forgetting to return from daydreaming cycle to form focus cycle.

I quit running.

Laying down for 10 minutes after lap 2.

Never using a pacer.

Never having a crew.

Listening to others.

Not listening to others.

Not seeing the full moon.

Not having good songs on my iPod.

Turning off my iPod and chatting with people who ended up dropping at 50.

Dropping out with people at 50 mile mark.


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Hooty Point 50k


I Thought the race was Saturday. I drove 90 minutes north ready to race. The gate was locked. I called the Race Director at 6am. I quickly hung up remembering her telling me how she laughs when she gets the calls on the wrong day and that she doesn’t answer. I returned to the website. It was the wrong day! Yikes! The Holder Mine campground was locked so I drove south then west then north up a dirt road to Tillis Hill. I parked and ran 14 miles on the D loop of the Citrus Tract. I saw signs. I knew this was the course. I was glad I went because I didn’t remember that technical section that well.


It was the right day! I got my bag and moved my car out of the campground. I returned and left a bag of goodies at the finish line. We got a pre race briefing. The winner of Western States 2013 was there. So this race appeared to have a winner called already. I’m not going to get into too much detail on this race but I feel as if I should encourage all runners who can make it to attend any of the Ultras on Trails events. The runs are donations only to help the organizer cover gatorade. Terri Hayes, the organizer, is a badass Angeles Crest 100 finisher and long time veteran to ultra running and let me tell you after having been out there and eating a DNF at mile 37.5 at Cloudburst Summit on the AC100 course that I went to this run eating crap. I respected this lady on a whole new level and had to explain to her that I am not near the runner that she is. We shared a laugh about AC100 and how hard but beautiful the course is.

The Event

I went out slow and got a 50k PR! I ate chocolate Hammer Gel and Bacon Jerky which ended up tasting like I was running powered by chocolate covered bacon. I passed a gal I couldn’t seem to catch for 22 miles in the technical section where she had ran way off course down by a pond and she never caught back up. I flew through the rocks remembering every turn from the day before, although I ran it the other way the day before. I finally checked my Strava data at mile 28 and was on course to PR! I wasn’t even going for it. It just ended up that way. A day well spent.  

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Pinellas Trail Challenge

Pinellas Trail Challenge

Someone created a Pinellas Trail Challenge. To run from Tarpon Springs, FL to St. Petersburg, FL. So, of course, I just signed right up! 40 pavement pounding miles. It’s pretty hot out there too. 10 days before the race the noon “feels like” temperature, which is the temperature adjusted for humidity and dew point (maybe, I’m not a meteorologist), was 106! So, it’s a beast out there. The forecast, first available 10 days before the race, shows a high of 89 and a dew point of 72. Luckily that’s a little better. However, it could change and be worse by then. It’s Florida so you never know!

Race day
Things always depend on race day conditions like how bad of a hair day I’m having or if I’m hungover. Thankfully I woke up on time. 2am and my new analog alarm clock is clanging actual bells (my wife hates my new $10 alarm clock). It’s a wind up clock an it was only $10. I had to have it.

Hit the road
So I finally got out the door at 3:30am and began driving south around the bay. It’s all open road and I’m there at 4:30am in time for the bus. We drove north, way north, right past Tarpon Springs to Port Richey! I informed the driver that he had clearly missed the turn. We headed back south.

At the start were a few cars. A guy and his wife set up a table, made us sign waivers, and gave us a wrist band with a phone number to call if we gave up. It was a nice and unexpected security to have that wrist band. People complained about the bad start area with no parking. I told my buddy I was running with on the trail that we would be better off starting at the Tarpon Springs Sports Complex 800 yards away which has ample parking and open bathrooms just off of Tarpon Rd and Jasmine St. It was literally a 10 minute walk up the trail from the start area, make a left go 800 yards, left into the parking just past the graveyard.

Get going
Anyway by the time I got from the park, which I detoured to in order to pee before the race start since it was so close, back to the start area it was time to go. I was the first person to take off since my watch said 6:30. So off I went. Having ran the course the week before I was able to help the leader not get lost twice in the first mile. The course headed west, then north then west then north before veering south for the long haul. There was a place just past the US 19 underpass where you DO NOT go north again 2 miles into a preserve – you keep going straight to the sponge docks.
Headed South
Tarpon Springs is quite pretty in the morning. I’d take this run over a lot of other morning jogs any time. Then the trail goes into Palm Harbor. If you know your bananas you’ll be able to spot the Primate Sanctuary here before mile 5. The chimps are adorable. Of course we had to stop for a second here. Then we ran on through Dunedin. Then we ran through Clearwater and a few sketchy intersections with no pedestrian crossing button where you just had to run for it. Then we ran through Largo. Then we ran through Seminole. Seminole still has something of old Florida about it to me. It’s not a headliner destination but its quiet. It gets damn hot around here. The trail opens up to the sunshine in an unrelenting way all the way through St. Petersburg.
My Advice
You should probably make a sock change at mile 20 if you run the full 40 miles of the Pinellas Trail. I have two blisters down to the last layer of skin to attest to why. Also, I would recommend 10 solid hours of nutrition and water planning just in case things go south. Don’t give up if things do.
Gulfport into downtown St. Petersburg has a few crossings with no pedestrian buttons where you have to run for it again. Then you run through downtown hit the water and hang a left to the park at the finish.
There was a real finish line and food and drinks. Hell, there was a real aid station at mile 17. Not bad for what I expected was a fun run with no frills. It was a lot of fun! The view from the park was great at the end. It made me want to take a nap and maybe become one of those bums sleeping beside the trail. Ok, not really, it made me want a shower at home most of all. The weather was on our side. Sun all day and light rain for 5 minutes a few miles before the finish.

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