Bugg the Brave

A timid boy

In late February of this year, Bugg joined our family of misfit toys after his previous owner needed to rehome him. Bugg is a Treeing Walker Coonhound/Australian Cattle Dog mix and one of ten pups whose mother died of bloat soon after birthing them. If this story sounds familiar, Bugg is indeed, a littermate of my boy Norbert, who I’ve had since he was five weeks old.  When I heard his brother needed a home, and knowing I wanted another pup, it seemed obvious that I should see if we could make this work.

The moment Bugg trotted up on my front porch, it was love at first site. His warm eyes and sweet disposition were the first thing I noticed. I knew within hours that we would likely offer a home to him. Though red and white to Norbert’s tri-color, the two have many similarities – their butt spots, the way they hold their ears, their affinity for casing the cats… They also differ greatly. Where Norbert is headstrong, dominant, and protective, Bugg is passive to the point of frequent bouts of submissive urination.

This has been a challenge. Bugg is a big boy and Bugg has a big bladder.

Pre-race prep
“I’m doing what?!”

Just prior to our new addition, I learned about the US Canine Biathlon from a Canicross Facebook page that I had joined.  Norbert had been my constant adventure buddy from the start – trailrunning, paddleboarding, skijoring, etc… He was quite the athlete and I thought participating in what is essentially a Tough Mudder with your dog, seemed like a great way to spend the day with him.

Once Bugg joined the family, he became part of our weekend hikes and runs. He quickly took to the fun but wasn’t quite as athletic/agile as his brother and was often timid when faced with a challenge (Bugg vs Log). In time, he started to try new things such as jumping in the lake and swimming out to retrieve a stick, but his insecurities were still a mountain. I called my trainer in to help and started a routine with me to help build his confidence.

Additionally, I took Bugg on a couple of road trips and camping trips with Norbert and me.  After his first road trip where he stood in the back seat for 4.5 out of the 5 hours each way, excited about every truck that went by, he had liquid diarrhea for two days following.  A camping trip later, his anxiety about riding in the car started to subside (though he still gets really jazzed about trucks!). Our next trip to Alliston, Alabama was a long one so I was prepped with some Pro-Pectalin on hand, just in case….  I planned on bringing him down with Norbert and me for the race so he could be exposed to the event, crowds of people and other dogs.

That was the plan.

Roadtrip to Alabama
“Look, a truck!!!”

 

What about Norbert?

Then, last week, my Norbert didn’t live up to his perfect social media persona and snapped at a hiker on a trail where some friends and I had been camping. Long story short, the guy was very understanding about things, but I was a mess. I had failed my dog. I knew he reacted to strangers sometimes and I made several mistakes (not being aware of my surroundings, not having full control, verbal or otherwise, of him, and not keeping the space I know he needs when out and about).  I had also made the mistake many owners make of not taking it seriously enough sooner (“MY kid isn’t a bad kid!”). When a dog is labeled “reactionary” people tend to think of the big dog that really bites down and could kill someone. Norbert isn’t that dog; but, he is the dog that will rip clothing and might just get some skin while doing so – he will also sound like Cujo as he’s doing it and is a fairly big dog which is intimidating to many. It can’t be a pleasant experience for the casual hiker just going out for a peaceful walk in the woods…

I was a wreck over it. Me, the dog person who knows how to work with my dogs, completely failed. I immediately recognized the errors I made, but also lost my own confidence that I could be certain not to let it happen again. It shook my world.

A call to my trainer to postpone Bugg’s training to discuss, and work with Norbert, became priority. After just one session I felt 100 times better and had a plan in place that is already showing promise.

However, I was just days from heading south to Alabama and though I knew they allowed for dogs of all sorts to participate in the event, I was new to it and wasn’t going to put Norbert nor myself in a situation to err again.  After talking to my trainer, I decided to run Bugg instead, but still bring Norbert with me so he could be exposed to the event and see what was happening, but under my watchful eye.

With the decision made, we headed south with the The Doghouse in tow.  Norbert, who has many road trips in the books, settled in and napped most of the hours on the road while Bugg stood for all but about 15 minutes, excited about every truck that passed on the highway. “Look, a truck!  Look, another truck!!!”

I was glad I had Norbert with me. It was hard enough to make the decision to not run him, but to leave him at home would have broken my heart. When a stranger approached my camper at my stop Thursday night, where Bugg would have likely hid in a corner and wet himself had we been alone, Norbert was fully in tune and on the ready to protect me. Norbert may have a bad attitude at times, but is ever loyal and protective.

Sweet setup
Our home for the weekend!

 

Bugg’s Big Day!

The event was at Vapor Wake K9, a training facility for dogs who are trained in explosive detection. This was the fifth year for the Canine Biathlon, which I was told, has doubled in size every year through word of mouth alone. Many of the participants were from military and police backgrounds and had dogs trained in specialized programs – there were a number of Malinois, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinchers, many of which were dog or people aggressive, but in full control by their handlers. In fact, during the whole weekend where there were over 800 dogs out and about, the only issues I saw were with pet owners (not the working dogs) whose dogs got loose or whose leashes were dropped during the race.

The forecast called for thunderstorms all weekend.  As it turned out the only time it rained was when I first arrived. We had about a 15 minute downpour just as I was setting up camp. Since I didn’t expect it to stop, I was completely drenched by the time I had everything set up.  Then the sun came out for the rest of the weekend.

The event and course was designed with dogs and their safety in mind, first and foremost. Humans be damned! As Paul Hammond, the Mad Brit, who designed the course stated in his opening remarks, “We always send the runners off first without dogs so they can clear the snakes for our beautiful furry friends!”

The course was a tough 4.1 miles and winds through the woods where there is plenty of shade and water.  It includes about 50 different obstacles that included sand hills, steps and platforms, pools of water (humans have to go under while dogs are able to swim above), A-frames to climb up and over, rocky creek beds with flowing water (Spider Mile), drainage pipes to crawl through, mud crawls, cars to go up and over (how many cars can be left in the middle of the woods???!!!), giant wooden spools to climb up and over, Snake Mountain which is an up and down hard dirt tortuous route with ropes for the humans to climb up and down (I left part of my left buttocks on one of the hills), a wall of tires to climb up and down through, Heartbreak Hill, the dunking pool, and a dog carry across a log (that was the one and only obstacle we couldn’t complete).

I had no idea how this was going to go but I knew we weren’t going to be racing. I knew Bugg would be glued to me out of sheer fear and would likely need some coaxing to complete some of the obstacles. If he refused or was too anxious, I would take the penalty and get through the day with him. He needed some time solo with me and I figured it could only help boost his confidence.

The course had two to three lanes with wide paths.  The starts were staggered, so that dog/human could go together without conflict. This helped prevent congestion and with rules that clearly stated to give faster participants the through way, there was plenty of space.

When it was time for us to go, Bugg wasn’t quite sure what to do.  The course starts by going up and over several small sand dunes. Bugg’s first reaction was to head off the course to the road but I prompted him to stay by my side.  Next came steps and a platform that included a wobbly bridge to cross. Bugg was a bit shaky and I could see he was considering jumping off the side which would have taken me with him since he was attached around my waist.  After several seconds passed, we made it across. Two short obstacles and already others were passing by us. I thought to myself, this was going to be a long day of going slow and providing lots of positive reinforcement. We’d take as much time as Bugg needed. A pool of water came next that had wires across the top just inches above the waterline.  Dogs could swim across and stay above water but humans had to go under to make it across. Once I entered the pool and was able to lift Bugg in, he completed it fabulously.

Then came a short run through a couple of windows to climb up through, a stream to run through the middle of, and our first drainage pipe to go through. This one was short and Bugg got in next to me and went through fairly well. Ah, he’s getting it!

We continue on down a path hurdling over a number of logs and then winding us back into the stream and to our next longer drainage pipe.  I had watched others do this in the morning and saw that all had let their dogs lead through. I did the same…

Bugg starts through and I follow on my belly, head first and crawling.  About a third of the way in, Bugg starts to panic and tries to turn around. With no room to pass me, he climbs on top of my head and folds his body in half over me.  I talk him down calmly until he melts into my arms and I end up slowly pushing him out backwards all the way through and into the water.  Once out, I layer on the praise and he starts to get excited. We head further down over rocks through the stream and get to the next, longer drainage pipe. I decide to go in first this time and cheer him on from the front. He follows me through and I give him major props when we exit.  I can’t remember how soon after that we went through our next pipe, but after that point, he was all about leading the way (and happily dragged me through a couple of them)!

Mud crawl (photo cred: T&C Pet Photography)
Later in the race, after Bugg had found his confidence!

The A-frames were another big challenge at first, but he quickly figured them out and was great about waiting on the top for me to find my footing and manage to make my way over with little bruising. As we entered the woods, he seemed to get more and more comfortable. Many rock beds, mud crawls, car climbs, and rugged trails later, we came up to three rows of three giant wooden spools. I guide Bugg up the first and hold him steady telling him to wait (he’s NOT all that well trained yet and I had images of him jumping over and taking me with him like a paddleball ball on a rubberband).  He stays focused, eyes on me, as I jump up and make my way over.  The second spool goes just as well with Bugg waiting on top, though a bit shaky, as I make my way up and over again.  The third spool is higher than the first two. I help get Bugg to the top with his harness handle and tell him to sit, which he does.  I jump up but can’t pull myself up.  I drop down and let the leash out as far as I can to give me a little room for a jump start. I start to pull myself up again, but my arms shake and give. I drop back down. I look up at Bugg and he has moved over to one side of the spool and looks me in the eyes. I swear I could hear his thoughts repeating to me what I had said to him in that drainage pipe curled into my arms, “C’mon mom, you got this!”

I step back and take a run hop and struggle with all my might to pull myself up just enough to steady myself and push with my feet on the spool sides until I could rest my chest on top.  I hold steady for a second and look up to see Bugg’s eyes looking down at me, “I knew you could do it, mom!”  I climb the rest of the way up and we get over to the other side and start heading down the trail for the tires, Snake Mountain, Heartbreak Hill, the dunking pool, etc…. From that point on, Bugg had a swagger about him. With his tail lifted, he carried his head up and was lighter on his feet.

When we crossed the finish line, I was handed a finisher’s medal which I immediately hung around Bugg’s neck. He seemed to know he did something special.  I sat down and hugged him and told him how proud I was of him and then the rain started… in my eyes.

Bugg the Brave!
A well-earned medal!

 

Epilogue

Bugg is still a work in progress when it comes to self-assurance, but the dog I brought to Anniston, Alabama is a completely different dog than the one I brought home to Bloomington, Indiana.  Both he and I have a new bond and level of trust with each other and both walked away with a bit more confidence.

K9 Grit
Deborah Glovier from K9 Grit and her beautiful Malinois, Ju-San

As for Norbert… I learned quickly in Anniston, that Norbert’s issues are mild compared to what many people there were dealing with in their dogs. The difference was that the people who were handling those dogs (mostly professionals), were fully aware of their might and had full control of them (in fact, the only issues I saw the whole weekend were with pet owners). I spoke to many others who had dogs that were reactive to either people or other dogs (and for a short moment had an image of taking Norbert through the Scared Straight Program). They provided a space where I could talk through some of my own fears without any judgement on their end. I walked away feeling certain I’d own, the hardest part, and be able to address these issues with Norbert (and myself).

After running the course with Bugg, seeing the layout, and the extra care they take to allow for dogs of all types to participate with their people safely, I’m sure I can do this with Norbert next year (and if I can stay in good physical shape myself, I might just run it twice so each dog gets a chance at it!)

These two boys from the same womb, have such different doganalities and needs. When I look at them together and separately, I know we are all meant for each other. I can’t wait for our next adventure!

Tired pup
Nothing like a fridge-fan pillow in the Alabama heat!
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Paying it forward

Hoo-hoo-hoo Hoosiers!!!
Hoo-hoo-hoo Hoosiers!!!

I spend quite a bit of time searching for good travel spots with my pup Norbert.  After all, I purchased a Cricket trailer for him (okay, for both of us, but really for the ease of traveling with my BFF along).  With the trailer, I can easily find places to stay, but I can’t always find the best dog friendly stops.

I often want to find a town where I can stop, go to stores (usually some sort of Outfitters), a restaurant or brew pub.  Trying to find places that are “dog friendly” is not as easy as one would expect in this day and age of split second Google searches.  Big cities usually have listings but not every moderately populated town does.

So, as I search through areas for my next trip, I realize I happen to live in a place that is often a destination for travelers. Bloomington is a college town in southcentral Indiana with a population of 80K.  The 46K students turn this town from a busting mid-sized city to a smaller town during the summer.  In addition to all the many IU attractions, Bloomington is also a summer mecca for many who travel to spend time on our large Monroe Lake or one of the many smaller lakes in the area, camp at nearby campgrounds, or visit Bloomington for all its many attractions.

I’m lucky to live in a very dog friendly community.  We have several hiking/running trails where one can bring their dog along for a day hike or several days of backpacking; a number of forests and recreational areas for camping; lakes for paddleboarding, kayaking, and motorboating; and restaurants and breweries that have plenty of outdoor seating where your canine companions are welcome.

As a consumer, it is time for me to give back to the dog-loving community and list out some of my favorite venues in the Bloomington, Indiana vicinity.  Below is the start of my list which I have no doubt will be updated as friends will remind me of places I forget to mention.  If you find this list useful, please pay it forward by posting (on your own blog or in a comment below) your favorite local dog friendly places or findings in areas you’ve traveled.

Pate Hollow trail (Paynetown)
Pate Hollow trail (Paynetown)

Restaurants/Brew Pubs (dogs welcome in outdoor seating and indoor at non-food serving locales; notes include Norbert’s favorite meals):

  • Scenic View http://scenicviewbloomington.com/ (outdoor patio with a view overlooking Lake Monroe; Norbert always looks forward to an order of the thick cut bacon; humans love the Sunday half-priced Bacon Bloody Mary)
  • Upland http://www.uplandbeer.com/
    • Upland Brew Pub (outdoor garden area; Norbert loves the local Fischer farms hamburger, plain and cooked rare; humans are fans of their sours, but there is a brew for all tastes here; if the pooch isn’t with you, stop by the Wood Shop next door for a sours extravaganza)
    • Upland West (great dog locale! No food, but you can bring your own. Dogs are welcome inside or out on the patio; humans say you can’t beat their $2 Sunday pints)
  • Big Woods http://quaffon.com/
    • Big Woods Bloomington – formerly Quaff On! in the heart of Bloomington has a small outdoor deck and a new garden area (Norbert has been known to coerce a few bites of the Soft Pretzel sticks w/ Beer Cheese; humans swear by the pulled pork bbq nachos)
    • Big Woods The Original – this one is again, in nearby Brown County (Nashville, IN) and has a small deck where you can bring your pup; there is also a Big Woods Pizza a couple blocks over though I’m not sure about outdoor seating for your dog
  • Oddball Fermentables http://www.oddballcyser.com/ (a unique drinking experience open on the weekends that is a labor of love between some local friends who created a variety of cysers (cider-mead hybrids) that you can taste individually or in a homemade concoction. This house turned into a cysery has a small outdoor seating area in the back and a food truck that brings some extraordinary tastes for the foodie in you. Like Big Woods West, Oddball Fermentables is not a restaurant so I believe you can bring your pup inside as well – call first to make sure though!)
  • The Tap Bloomington http://www.thetapbeerbar.com/ (yet one more craft brewery in Btown along with a plethora of other rotating craft brews on tap with a small strip of outdoor seating where your Fido can accompany you)
  • Function Brewing http://www.functionbrewing.com/ (another local craft brewery with a small outdoor seating area where Norbert has been welcomed that is worth a stop)
  • Laughing Planet Cafe http://www.thelaughingplanetcafe.com/ (restaurant that features locally-farmed foods in burritos of the week with a large outdoor deck where you can dine with your buddy)
  • Story Inn http://www.storyinn.com/ (a bit off the beaten path in our neighboring Brown County, but if you are visiting Brown County State Park, it is well worth the trip; check and make sure the outdoor area is open; Norbert still hasn’t made a visit there, but his older brother Tucker swore by the bacon and eggs)
  • Bruster’s Real Ice Cream https://www.facebook.com/BloomingtonIndianaBrustersRealIceCream/ (this is entirely outside but I mention it because when you get your treat, you can also get a free Pup Cup that is a small vanilla scoop with a dog biscuit in the middle for your pal)
  • There are many other restaurants in Bloomington that have outdoor seating so I imagine many/most/maybe all, allow you to have your pooch alongside.

Stores where my pups have been welcome:

Outdoor activities:

Vacationing at home!
Vacationing at home!

Reading comprehension (or How I ran 50 miles under 11 hours)

I am a 46-yr old cyclist who runs.  In my youth I was an athlete – I played softball, basketball, volleyball, and ran track.  My freshman year in high school, my track coach gave me the option to be a miler or learn to hurdle.  I saw what the distance runners had to do for workouts and opted for the knee-cracking hurdles.

Until I took up cycling in my late 30s, I never envisioned myself as an endurance athlete and when I took up trail running, I considered myself a cyclist who runs sometimes.

After a couple of 23K trail runs, followed by two 60K ultras in the last two years, I decide to attempt my first 50-mile ultra at the well-organized and supported Land Between the Lakes trail run in western Kentucky.

Linda, Tracy, Alan, and me pre-race
Linda, Tracy, Alan, and me pre-race

The day starts out well and once the crowds thin out, I find my groove in the second loop when a blonde streak flies past me and another nearby runner.  I recognize Scott and yell out a cheer to him to which he surprises me with a “Thanks, Momi!” and then disappears as quickly as he arrived. The woman running near me incredulously asks, “Who WAS that?!” And with chest-pumping Bloomington pride I respond, “THAT is Scott Breeden.  THAT is the man who is destroying the 60K record today!”  Suddenly, my feet feel lighter and I continue down the path channeling Scott’s mana.

I am by no means fast, but I thought I’d easily arrive well ahead of the cutoff with plenty of time to finish under the 11hr limit.  About halfway through the second loop though, I start having stomach problems which slows me to a walk a number of times for the rest of the loop and a good portion of my third.  In addition, I misstep and take three minor spills in my first three loops which adds to my intestinal distress.  I remember reading an article about Ellie Greenwood getting ill in some of her 100-mile races and that she would just sip water for a while until things settled.  I decide to take her advice and start feeling better with about 3 miles to go in the third loop.  I begin doing the math in my head and realize I am cutting it close.  My right hamstring starts to cramp so I grab an electrolyte tablet from my back pocket and swallow it dry and keep pushing on.  Finally, I arrive at the end of the third loop with 3 minutes to spare.

Hats

Tracy is waiting for me at the aid station and sees the panic in my eyes.  She quickly calms me and asks if I want to continue and reminds me I can cut it down to the 60K.  I tell her I’m going and she tells me that I can slow down and relax now in the last loop and then yells out words of encouragement as I disappear back into the woods.

I’m alone on the trail now, going easy, getting my heart rate back down when I start doing the math.  I calculate again and come to the realization that I not only have the 11.3 miles on the trail loop, but also another 3 miles on the road to the finish and I need to keep my pace up in order to make it under 11hrs.

I turn my legs over faster, knowing that the next six miles are fairly flat and I need to gain some time before I hit the hills again.  I start psyching myself up and my brain starts talking to me…

I am a cyclist who runs. I’m a runner! I’m a TRAIL runner!  I am Scott Breeden! I am Chris Vargo! I am Ellie f****** Greenwood!  I AM A M***** F****** TRAIL RUNNER!!!

I stumble over a root and almost do a face plant.

Little steps, little steps, little steps…  get up the hill.

Stumble.

Careful, careful, careful, foot up, foot up, foot up!  Downhill… C’mon, Ford! Go, go, go!!!  Okay, keep going, keep going, c’mon get up here, okay, walk, walk, walk faster.  Get through the stop fast.  Grab water, take a gel.  Damn, shoulda taken a gel! Too late, keep going!

I catch up to a fellow runner at the next stop and ask if he knows how long the out and back is. He says 0.6mi each way and then an additional 1.8 home – so 3 miles on the road.  I head back out for the last couple miles on the trail.

With about a mile left on the last loop, my right hamstring begins to cramp.  Damn, no gel!  I remember I have an electrolyte tablet with me so I down it dry.  Keep going, keep going, you’re okay, c’mon you can do this.  I look at my watch and do the math.  I pick up the pace trying to get on the road with some padding.  Damn, not gonna get to the road fast enough. C’mon, spin the wheels, keep going.  Okay, walk just a little more…

Then I hear my friend Linda call my name and get a glimpse of her through the trees, I start to move again and wind out of the woods with about 37 minutes to do the three miles.

Still smiling during the first loop!
Still smiling during the first loop!

I come out of the greenery to Tracy, Linda, and Alan all cheering me on.  Tracy asks if I want her to run beside me and I nod yes because speaking takes too much energy.  Like a person going into hypothermia whose body functions turn inward for survival, what little energy I have is focused on putting one foot in front of the other.  Tracy tells me to keep going and she will catch up.  I’m already heading up the road in automatic drive. I hear Linda and Alan and others cheering me on and one of the LBL staff directing me up the road for the out and back telling me it’s 0.8 miles to the turn around.  My brain is screaming at him.

0.8 miles?! What do you mean 0.8?!  It was supposed to be 0.6!!!

I do the math.  Shit, I need to go almost another half mile more!  He tells me what I already have calculated – when I get back it’s another 1.8 to the finish so 3.4 total.  I scream some more in my head to the deaf running gods.

3.4?! It was only supposed to be 3 more!!! 

I do more math and any padding I had coming out of the woods is quickly diminishing.  I head up the road.

I hear Tracy’s familiar patter coming up behind me and she settles in providing me with words of encouragement and telling me that it’s just up the road a little bit more.  And then starts to tell me that I need to keep pushing to make it and that I will hate her but that she’s going to make sure I keep going.  I tell her that I don’t hate her and that no matter what I say in the next 3 miles back to her, that I love her more than anything.  I then tell her to stop running ahead of me and get next to me.  She asks me questions and I reply with “You talk! I don’t want to talk! Too much energy to talk!”  She keeps pushing me to keep going.

A runner returning from the turnaround catches my eyes and offers more positive words and notes that the downhill will be sweet.  I look ahead and see the slight incline that looks like a mountain to me at this point.  I utter out to Tracy, “How much further?”  She responds with certainty that it is just around the corner a bit, up a little, then flattens, then up a little more and then we’re home free.  Little did I know that she couldn’t remember at all what it was like and made all of that up.  I then see a sign ahead and ask if that is the turnaround and she confirms it (and is correct).  I get a little more energy and get to the turnaround and start heading back.  I pick up a little bit of speed on the downhill and start heading back toward the forest exit.  Tracy runs ahead to the aid station to get water and a gel ready for me.

After a few sips of water and a dollop of gel, I head back out toward the highway, down a wonderful hill and then start going up over the first of two bridges.  Linda has now joined us and Tracy continues to push me on.  I start to lose it, feeling like I can barely keep going.  I utter out, “Stop talking!”  She reminds me that I will hate her but she is going to keep pushing me on.  I tell her I don’t hate her followed by ordering her to my left side rather than the right where cars are coming. I know I’m about 1.25 to 1.5 miles out still and look at my watch that shows about 17 minutes to get there.  I start to walk just wanting to slow for a couple seconds.  Tracy pushes me to keep going and I snap at her and tell her I have 17 minutes to get there.  She says according to her watch I have 14.  My brain screams, Oh shit! My watch might be off!!!  Crap!  Alan drives past us taking pictures and cheering followed by one of the LBL volunteers driving by cheering.  I start to go again.  A stranger drives by honking and cheering. I see an LBL volunteer down the road who comes out to stop traffic on the highway for me to cross.  I know I’m near. I cross and head down the hill to the finish, stretching out my strides and summoning any fast twitch muscles still awake.  My middle-aged eyes can’t focus on the clock ahead so I push on.  About 100 feet from the finish I see a 10:5x:xx and I know I’m going to make it.

I cross at 10:53:37 with my friends Beth, Jill, and Jean cheering me in.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  When I’ve run LBL in the past, I might try to up my pace a bit, but in general don’t race.  I usually enjoy the run and the people around me, but on this day, in order to make it under 11 hours, I truly raced the clock and pushed myself unlike anything I’ve ever done.  The last six hours of that run took every ounce of physical and mental effort I could muster to make the time.

Yes, it hurt as much as it looks!
Yes, it hurt as much as it looks!

Last night, two days post-race, I look over the finishing times thinking I was the Lanterne Rouge of LBL only to find several runners who came in over the 11-hour time limit, the last ones arriving at the 11:41 mark.  It was then that I re-read the rules that were clearly stated online:

NOTE: Due to time limits, NO COMPETITOR WILL BE ALLOWED TO START A FOURTH LAP UNLESS THEY ARE ON PACE TO FINISH IN 11 HOURS. This means that 60k runners must start their 3rd loop by 1:45, and 50 milers their 4th loop by 2:15 p.m.

Nowhere does it say you have to FINISH in 11 hours, you just have to be on PACE to do so at the end of the 3rd loop!!!

I shake my head realizing that reading comprehension was never my strong suit. My brain yells out,

I am 46 years old and I am a trail runner!

Sweet hardware
Sweet hardware