Friday, May 20, 2016

Party on the Beast Coast - Cruel Jewel 100

“Ain’t no party like a Beast Coast party cuz a Beast Coast party don’t stop!”
                                      - Coolio

If you didn’t sing the top line… shame on you. If you don’t know who Coolio is… I’ll be accepting your apology in the form of candy or a 106 word essay. Either is fine… candy is preferred. And before some Keyboard Warrior (still one of my favorite words Dan) bravely scolds me from behind their screen… I am well aware that Coolio said “West Coast” and not “Beast Coast.”  Beast Coast is simply a term used by East Ultra that references the gnar gnar that we run and call home.

One of the races I had my heart set on last year was the Cruel Jewel 100 but an injury kept me from the starting line of CJ as well as Fat Dog 120. But thanks to the ongoing support and amazing work I’ve received from Dr. Beau and Dr. Sloan of the FARM… I've been running and moving well since last summer! Nothing creates more confidence than heading into a race healthy and injury free. 

The North Georgia Mountains have a certain mystic around them that draws me in. They always provide such a humbling experience which usually involves equal parts of fun and suffering. And it doesn’t help that I have a soft spot in my heart for Cruel Jewel. I was a part of the inaugural running of the 56 miler when it was a bare bones, no frills, race director drew a line in the gravel and said “Go!” kind of race…

(Pic By: Jason Green)

It was one of my first longer efforts and somehow walked away with 1st overall.

(Pic by: Chuck Ellison)

Hell… I’ve even got the crown on my back…

 I had a few motives running Cruel Jewel this time around:
  1. It's one of the hardest, most gnarliest races on the East Coast and probably the country
  2. I needed to renew my Hardrock qualifier

Cruel Jewel is about as cruel as they come. 106 miles with 33,213ft of gain and 33,213ft of descent is no laughing matter… that’s why I brought along 2 very serious individuals to help crew and pace me: John Gregg (OJG) and Matt Denton (Silversnatch)

The Thursday before Cruel Jewel… I picked up OJG at the airport… even made him a sign...

It worked out where he had been in Florida on business and we could ride up to his cabin together. Someone had been mentioning Taco Bell on a text message chain so we made a quick stop before we hit the road. Joel(2.0) had created a bad ass tshirt design for our adventure…

We immediately changed into our Team DG2Fs shirts so we could get a picture in front of the Taco Bell sign (fun fact: Taco Bell is 2.0’s favorite restaurant).

OJG: “Mam. Will you take a quick picture of me and my friend in front of the counter?”

Cashier: “Ummmm. I don’t think I can do that.”

OJG: “We just really want a picture together in our shirts. It’s for a scavenger hunt.”

Cashier: “I’d have to ask my manager.”

OJG: “No no no no no. Don’t do that. I just need you to take a picture.”

Cashier: “Oh. Yea I can do that.”

After we placed our order OJG looked over to me…

“Did I accidently ask her to split a molecule or something?”

Oh this trip was going to be so much fun. We laughed and carried on all the way to his cabin tucked away in the Nantahala. OJG’s wife (Katie) had BBQ waiting on us when we arrived and we all sat out on the deck drinking colbeer and talking. Some of Katie’s family were coming up for a long weekend so we stayed up drinking until they arrived. 

Thankfully Cruel Jewel 100 didn’t have one of those God forsaken 4am start times. CJ starts at noon and OJG’s cabin was roughly 1hr15mins drive to the starting line at Vogel, so I casually woke up at 7am and started moving about the cabin. Katie had made oatmeal for breakfast and we all sat outside and enjoyed a lovely morning chat over coffee.

With the help of Rory… I did a quick gear check. She checked, rechecked and checked a 3rd time to make sure my soft flasks were working properly. Finally she was satisfied with her inspection and gave me her stamp of approval. And I thought TSA was tough…

We finally got out the door around 930am. We figured getting to the park around 1045am would be plenty of time to pick up my packet/bib/SPOT, get all my stuff ready and chit chat with some runners for a bit. Well… we ended up having some issues at the pump at one of the gas stations, picked up a hitchhiker who was thru hiking the AT, dropped him off and then we decided to stop for a bathroom and coffee break at a coffee shop in Blairsville. We finally arrived at Vogel at 11:20am and was greeted with a big hug from Silversnatch. I got my feet lubed up, said good morning to the legendary Bradford Poppins and chatted briefly with some of my local Bham peeps (Sachiko and Jessica who were here crewing/pacing Jonathon.).


I heard Ashley (the Godfather of the Trailgangstas and creator of East Ultra) yell across the parking lot. We communicate back and forth regularly but it was great seeing her. I hadn’t actually seen her since Grindstone 100! We chatted and joked a bit as we waited for the race to start.

**if you get a chance, go read her recap of her Cruel Jewel experience!!!!**

Leading up to the race I was asked “What’s your goal for CJ? To finish before *insert whoever’s name*?”

UGH. I loathe this and I’m sure my face showed it. Everything is NOT a competition. I love this sport because it is an opportunity for me to challenge myself. For me to push MY limits. For me to better MYself. I literally want to see every single person achieve and blow past the goal that they have established and worked so hard to accomplish. There’s no room under my umbrella-ella-ella-a for people that are super competitive, cut throat and don’t support other runners. That’s the quickest way to get dropped from my AOL Buddy List.

“We don’t need competition between people. The last word always belongs to the mountain.”

My game plan was simple. Run a steady race, have fun with my crew and enjoy the journey. If it was one of those magical days where errrrything clicked and I was on top of my game… I wanted to try and push a sub 30hr finish.  If not… I wanted to roll in around 33hrs.

Every good ultrarunner knows that 100 mile races are won in the first 3 miles… so I made sure to start at the front of the pack and sprint out of Vogel. I figured I’d keep the sub 8min/mile pace for the first half of the race and then probably have to slow it down some… maybe even to a 9:15min/mile pace… for the second half.

Yea… didn’t think you’d buy that one ;)

I did go out with the lead pack though. I have run enough races in Vogel to know I didn’t want to be caught in the conga line heading up Coosa. My plan was to run the first 3 miles to Wolf Creek with the leaders and tail off when we started the climb up Coosa. I really enjoyed talking with the leaders for the first few miles. I’ve followed Nickademus’ career throughout the years and even watched him destroy Fat Dog 120 last year in some of the harshest conditions I’ve ever seen. He was as you would expect… laid back and chill. I really hoped he would have a killer day and he did (taking 1st overall with a new sub24hr CR).

I cruised into White Oak Stomp (mile 8.1) feeling a little fuzzy. The temperature was rising and I was in a weird funk. I killed both of my soft flasks and refilled before leaving. I felt a little dehydrated (probably from all the colbeer from the previous night) and my dark piss confirmed my beliefs. It seemed like no time had passed when I reached Fish Gap (mile 15.7). Molly was working the aid station and we spoke briefly before I headed out. I ALWAYS FORGET how rough the Duncan Ridge Trail is after Fish Gap. Jonathon came screaming past me and we exchanged a few words before he disappeared down the trail. Next to pass me was Bob Watters. Bob is probably the single most impressive 100 mile runner I have EVER met. He is like a well-oiled, dependable machine that lays down 100% solid races. I have nothing but respect for that cat. Per usual… he ran a solid race and finished in an amazing 30hrs53mins.

I somehow made it to the turnoff and left the DRT. I was finished with the hardest section of the race and wouldn’t have to fight that Dragon again until the following afternoon. I let gravity carry me down the long descent to Skeenah Gap (mile 20.6) where my wonderful crew was waiting for me. 

The above picture may look like I’m happy and feeling fabulous. Well… I was happy… but still was pissing dark yellow/almost brown… which was not fabulous. I’m an extremely positive person and over the years I’ve learned that no matter how shitty you feel… or how shitty of a day you’re having… if you let that show through your body language and attitude… it makes it so much harder to dig out of that hole. That’s why it’s very rare to spot me without a smile on my face when I’m out in the woods. I love trail running… even when it sucks.

My super Southern accent comes out on 3 occasions:
  1. when I'm tired
  2. when I've been drinking
  3. when OJG is around

Cruel Jewel brought the trifecta.

“Worst 20 miles of my ultra career.”

That is NO exaggeration. It really was the worst 20 miles I’ve ever experienced. From a time standpoint I was actually ahead of schedule at Skeenah… but from a life standpoint… I was not in a good place. I sat down and drank 2 soft flasks and ate a banana while I listened to OJG and Silvernsnatch tell me about all the fun they’d had running up Blood Mountain and drinking colbeer…  

I finally departed Skeenah and had Silversnatch tuck an extra soft flask in my vest. It was only 5 miles to the next crew accessible aid station and my goal was to take it easy and drink as much as possible throughout the next section. I very much accomplished that mission and rolled into Wilscot (mile 25) feeling much better.

I was greeted with an unexpected cheer station at Wilscot! My girls Sunny and Missy were up for the 56 miler (which both did extremely well in – Missy 3rd overall and Sunny 4th overall - congrats guys!) and they decided to swing by and show their support! 

I was in and out of Wilscot pretty quickly. I still hadn’t completely lost the fogginess in my head so I continued to hit my hydration hard since it was only another 5 mile section before seeing my crew again. I really enjoyed the section between Wilscot and Old Dial Road. The woods here contained beautiful singletrack and an old fire tower. Somewhere along the descent to Old Dial Road aid station (mile 31) the fog in my head lifted and I started feeling normal again. My head and piss were clear so I celebrated in true DG2Fs fashion…

My crew loaded me up with a jacket and my headlamp to get me through the night. I wouldn’t see them again until I reached the turnaround at Camp Morganton some 20 miles down the trail. I left Old Dial Road feeling relaxed and refreshed. The next section was roughly 6 miles but 4 of those miles were on the road. I was hoping to push it a little bit harder on the road but the lugs on the Salomon SLAB 5 SG’s were beating up my feet pretty badly. The road quickly made a sharp turn to Negativetown. The road went from a hopeful faster section to a “maybe I should just throw myself in front of a car” section. The sun was setting and the world was growing dark… and so was my mood. Thankfully I conjured up Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” and before I could get through the entire song… I was happy again… and thus spawned an out loud version with my own lyrics…

“This Friday night…

Yea I’m running in the dark

This stupid race is f*cking hard

Almost got hit by a blue car”



This tune carried me all the way through the rolling asphalt and up the short steep gravel road into Stanley Gap (mile 37). I took a seat at Stanley Gap and chatted with a friendly aid station worker while I ate some noodles but quickly took back to the trail. The section to Deep Gap had a long but gradual 3 mile ascent before plunging 2 miles into the aid station.

I reached Deep Gap (mile 41.7) and quickly refilled. We had to run a 6 mile loop and come back to Deep Gap before heading to Morganton. I did not enjoy the loop. I didn’t bonk. I didn’t feel bad. It just simply was not fun.

I tagged in at Deep Gap (mile 47.5) and quickly headed off to Morganton. After a short hike up the road… I coasted down the long asphalt descent until the route turned off the main road. I was almost to the Camp Morganton road when I heard a car slow down beside me.

“Hey man! Looking good!”

It was one of my favorite humans… Jason Green!

We chatted for a bit as he drove alongside me. He was kind enough to agree and grab some supplies that I had stowed away in my car for Violeta’s nutrition for Thunder Rock 100 next weekend. (Thanks again buddy!)

I finally reached the turnaround at Camp Morganton around 2am and walked into the warm building.

The following statement is one of the reasons I love OJG:

“I’ve had 8 beers and am ready to pace 30 miles.”

I sat down and switched into my Salomon Sense Pro1s. I was over the big lugs and knew my feet would be destroyed if I had to go through another road section with those puppies. Silversnatch refilled all my flasks, brought me some chicken noodle soup and a coke.

Once OJG and Silversnatch broke the news that “porn kills love” I knew it was time to leave. Since we wouldn’t see Silversnatch again for 20 miles… I hoped he would be able to catch a few good hours of sleep in the back of Hotel de Andrews.

Once on the road we started chatting and catching up on how their day had been. OJG told me all about the colbeer that had drank, where they ate and who they’ve been hanging out with in between aid stations. It was good to actually have someone to talk to. I had run alone practically all day. Hell… the longest conversation that I’ve had prior to the one with OJG was the one with Jason Green a half hour earlier.

We hiked the long road section back to Deep Gap (mile 53) and started the Deep Gap loop again. The loop breezed by this time! It was so much better with company. We ended up passing by my California buddy Jason. Dudes got a rad ass style!

We rolled back into the Deep Gap aid station (mile 58.7) refilled and started the long 2 mile climb out. The game plan had been pretty straight forward. Power hike the ascents and then run the flats and downs. I told OJG I had ZERO excuse not to run the downs. After a very blurry and sleepy climb… we made it to the turn off for the out and back to the Weaver aid station. I hadn’t really studied up on the course that much so I didn’t really have a good idea of what to expect on this portion.

This. Section. Was. Awful. It felt like we descended into the depths of Hell. I just couldn’t understand how we could keep moving downwards. I mean… there HAD to be a bottom right? Eventually we found the bottom level of the Hell called Weaver (mile 63.7) and I plopped down in a chair. This would be the last time I would sit for the rest of the race. I’m not sure I have ever felt so much pain in my legs when I got up to leave.

“OJG. Dude. My legs. They hurt. They just f*cking hurt. Like bad. They hurt bad. My legs.”

Now I realize I’d been on my legs for some 17hrs or so... but this was a different kind of hurt. Thankfully OJG kept me moving and within a few minutes of climbing the pain was gone and I was moving steady again. The trip out of Weaver was pretty slow and rough for me… but the sun started to light up the sky and I knew it would bring rebirth.

When we topped one of the climbs we saw an older man with what we assumed was his grandson sitting on a log holding a shotgun. My first thought was…

“Oh hello tiny hunter. I’ll take one shotgun blast to the legs please.”

Though I don’t think a shotgun blast could have been any more painful that what I was voluntarily putting my legs through…

OJG: “Let’s go ahead and run this section so we don’t get blown away.”

The trail started to flatten out but I was still walking. OJG called out from behind me:

“What would Caballo Blanco do?”

I astutely answered:

“He probably wouldn’t do anything. He’s dead.”

Of course this wasn’t the answer OJG was looking for so I laughed, started running, and gave it another shot…

“Haha… He’d probably run this section.”


The sun had brightened my spirits a bit and shed some of my sleepiness. We finally topped the climb out of Weaver and steadily ran the ridgeline back down to the Stanley Gap aid station (mile 69) where Silversnatch was waiting on us. Silversnatch immediately jumped on refilling my flasks, stuffing my pack with gels and even had a cold coffee for me. He was unbelievable throughout this race.

I felt a rumble in my tummy as we left Stanley and started down the gravel road descent. I took a small off road detour when the road flattened. We were still in the woods and I felt it was better to go ahead and clean out the system before I was forced to do it in someone’s lawn. Because that’s actually happened before when I was a kid. It was not a pleasant experience. My parents got a note from the neighbor who’s yard I had fertilized and I got whipping. Ahhhh memories :)

Again I hoped the road would bring a quicker paced effort but it didn’t. Thankfully I was in good company and the conversation made the road portion pass quicker than before.

We rolled into Old Dial Road (mile 75) and Silversnatch was nowhere to be found. I grabbed some food from the aid station and refilled my flasks. We chatted with Jessica and Kevin for a bit until Silversnatch pulled up. Jess had said Jonathan hit a rough patch a was taking a quick nap in the car. Jonathon ended up rallying and finished in 36hrs04mins. The Birmingham crew ended up with a 5/5 finishing rate between the 100/50-mile race!

Silversnatch whipped into the aid station with MacDonald’s. If I hadn’t just eaten a grilled cheese, I would’ve snatched up a biscuit. But I declined and tried my best to pretend to be mad at him for not being at the aid station when I arrived. But I am no trail diva and come on… can you really be mad at a face like this?

I left Old Dial with one trekking pole. Yes. 1. Silversnatch had brought his 1970s poles and we could only get one working properly at the moment. Nevertheless… the pole helped during some of the extended climbs in the section. OJG had left me in a great mood when we rolled into Wilscot (mile 80).

OJG had gotten me through the night and was now ready to hand me off to Silversnatch for the last 26 miles. Over the course of the 5 miles… Silversnatch had gotten the 2nd pole to work. Now we were in business! We left Wilscot and Silversnatch caught me up on all the happenings that had taken place over the past 25hrs. It was extremely nice having someone around during the late stages of an ultra. It didn’t even feel like we were at a race. It just felt like we were out on our normal Saturday run. Before I knew it… we were at Skeenah (mile 85.5) talking with OJG again!

Skeenah would be the last crew accessible aid station until I reached the finish so we had to repack the headlamp and some extra food. I was hoping to finish before sundown but I knew the last 21 miles were the hardest on the course. The Duncan Ridge Trail can be terribly mean so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself. Spirits were high and I was in a good place mentally… obviously…

The climb out of Skeenah suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. It was just the worst. Eventually we reached the turn off onto the DRT. I smiled and thought to myself…

“Just another hard time on the Dragon’s Spine.”

Steep climb. Steep descent. Steep climb. Steep descent. That's practically the DRT in a nutshell. Eventually I just quit trying to keep track of where we were. I knew sooner or later we would end up at Fish Gap and honestly I was just tired of thinking. When we peaked at the top of one of the climbs… the trail flattened momentarily and we marveled at the old growth and massive trees. One reason I love Silversnatch is because he adores these kinds of areas and it warmed my heart to hear the excitement in his voice. I love little things like that. Little things like listening to someone speak about something they truly enjoy.

“Look at that vine! Think it will hold me?”

Silversnatch walked over to a huge tree with a vine that disappeared into its lofty canopy, gave it a little tug and then swung out 10-15ft. Oh the jealousy. It looked like so much fun and I really really wanted to play… but I feared that if the Dragon saw I was playing and having too much fun… it would release a fury on me that not even Beowulf could defend. It was so relieving to see my friends  having so much fun. Crewing/pacing is such an incredibly selfless act and I usually tend to worry more about my crew/pacers than I do about myself during races. It took a lot of pressure off seeing them having fun and enjoying the experience just as much… if not more than me.  

I was hungry by the time we rolled into Fish Gap (mile 90). It was 7.6 miles to the final aid station. I wanted to get some food in me to tide me over because I knew all too well how rough this section would be. I had a few salty potatoes, a cup or 2 of Mountain Dew and refilled all my soft flasks. Silversnatch had spotted one of the aid station workers reading a book about Caesar and I tried my best to listen in on what sounded like an intelligent conversation… but my mind started to wander and all I could think about was Gretchen Wieners…

Then I started quoting Mean Girls in my head… “Four for you Glen Coco. You go Glen Coco!!”  and then I found myself getting frustrated because I now wanted to watch the movie… and I couldn’t… because I was in the middle of the damn woods.

** this recap could have been finished hours before but I stopped to watch Mean Girls. Yes… because of some random kid reading a book about Caesar in the middle of the woods at mile 90 of an ultra... I stopped my recap to watch Mean Girls. This is my life. Cats and Mean Girls. Adulting.**

A mile or so after leaving Fish Gap the first 56 miler blew past us looking fresh! The 2nd 56 miler passed us at Mulky Gap. Just like the climb coming out of Skeenah… the climb out of Mulky Gap suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. But like all long, extended climbs… it eventually ended and we were rewarded with a handful of beautiful views of the mountains through breaks in the trees. The weather for the race had been unreal. God couldn’t have blessed us with a better weekend for racing.

It’s strange when you KNOW a trail so well but because of the lack of sleep and high mileage already on your legs… you forget all the twists and turns that you normally recognize. I know we were moving slow… but this section seemed less familiar and longer than usual. Needless to say… I was extremely happy when White Oak Stomp (mile 98) came into view. I got my flasks refilled, took a few salt tablets and ate a gel. I accidently dropped my gel wrapper on the ground and looked the aid station worker straight in the eye…

“Sorry man… I can’t pick that up. It’s just not going to happen.”

He just laughed and picked it up for me. We left White Oak Stomp for the final miles back to Vogel. We had one more major climb on the backside of Coosa and then it was practically downhill for 4 miles to Wolf Creek. I won’t go into details because we all know the climb up the backside of Coosa sucks... even on fresh legs. There was supposed to be a little sumpin sumpin special happen on Coosa Bald if we made it there before sundown… a lil sumpin involving Silversnatch getting nakey and taking an epic picture on the bald… but he conveniently left his phone behind...

The trip down Coosa was steady but slow. Somewhere along the way we tipped over the 100 mile mark…

“Welp. You’ve ran a 100 miles. Time to call OJG and have him pick us up. The race is over.”

Hahaha! I wished it was that easy. We passed through Wolf Creek (102.3) and started making the final push to Vogel. There isn’t anything terribly hard about the last 4 miles… but I knew it would take a while to get back to the park. I had already accepted that we would have to throw on our headlamps for the last 30mins so Silversnatch dug it out of my pack and I went ahead and put it on. Time drug on and on as we continued to round corners and I started getting anxious to see the road crossing for the final push to Vogel.  When the road came into view I really just wanted to stop and give Silversnatch a big hug. He tends to revoke my “man card” pretty often (either for wearing manpris, tights, loving cats a little too much... you get the picture) but somewhere during the race he gave me a 2nd Man Card and I really needed to hold onto that one for when I want to do something a little more extreme. I passed on giving him a hug and we headed along the rooted/rocky trail back to Vogel. The campground lights finally came into view and our feet struck concrete as we made our way back to the start/finish area. After 33hrs04mins the adventure had come to an end.

I quickly grabbed my buckle (the biggest buckle I had ever seen) and walked into the building to get warm. The temperature had dropped and I knew I would be freezing in a matter of minutes. I sat down for a few minutes before OJG came in and grabbed my pack. We headed to the car where Bob, Jess and Silversnatch were waiting. We quickly spoke and exchanged congratulations before leaving. I gave a big hug to Silversnatch before we parted ways. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to have people like OJG and Silversnatch in my life. It’s hard to explain the pure selflessness of crew/pacers. I feel like a special bond is formed between people when you work together to accomplish this kind of thing. It ties you together in a unique way and it is something you’ll always hold close to your heart. A simple thank you just isn’t enough and doesn’t do it justice… but at the moment… it was all I had to give.

We left Vogel and I peeled off my socks and shoes. Despite not changing socks one single time during the 33hrs… I surprisingly had ZERO blisters! I thought I felt the skin rip off of my pinky toe at mile 8… so in that moment I swore not to take off my socks for the rest of the race. Those are the logical decisions you make at mile 8 right? 

We pulled through a MacDonald’s and grabbed some food. OJG wouldn’t let me pay for our meals…

“Listen man. It’s my rule. If you run a 100 miles. I buy you MacDonald’s.”

Post 100 MacDonald’s seems to be my thing. Though it wasn’t quite the experience we had when Joel and I hit up MacDonald’s after Grindstone100… that dude was crazy.

We had an 1hr15min drive back to OJG’s cabin so I immediately passed out after scarfing down my food. I woke up to…

“Coming in hot!”

We were rounding curves through the Nantahala Gorge. I quickly opened my eyes and saw some dude in all black walking down the side of the road…

OJG: “Did you see that dude!?” Good. It wasn’t a hallucination.”

I woke up the next morning on the couch. My original room was the loft upstairs… but yea… that wasn’t happening. Katie had made an amazing breakfast for everyone. I’m not sure exactly what it consisted of… but it was the best damn breakfast casserole I’d ever had! I spent most of the morning falling in and out of sleep between cups of coffee. I eventually came to my senses and we all headed down to the NOC for lunch and beers.

We sat alongside the river, enjoyed good food, colbeers and warm sunshine.

Katie caught us up on their adventurous weekend! Mimi (her 82yr old grandmother) had not only hiked Max Patch…

But this bad ass grandma also went down the river!

I can only pray I'm still that adventurous at 82!

I couldn’t thank the Gregg’s enough for their hospitality! We wrapped up lunch, said our goodbyes and I started making my way back home. The drive normally only takes 4-4.5hrs but I knew this one would be a lot longer and rough. The prolonged sitting was making my feet swell and my legs tight… so I stopped every 30-45mins to stretch out and walk around. I knew no amount of Red Bull or candy would help keep me awake for the drive… so I promised myself the moment I felt the least bit sleepy I would stop and take a nap in the back of my car. That moment came at the Alabama state line.


After an hour (maybe even 2) I woke and continued home. It was so good getting back home to the Kati and Wobbles! These kind of reunions are some of my favorites!

The next 2-3 days I wandered around the office and home in a weird daze. I kept apologizing because my mind was still so exhausted from the experience that I just couldn’t make a lot of sense out of anything that I said or did. With the exception of a tight calf muscle… my legs actually felt really good. I feel like I’m finally starting to dial in my training. But it’s been a very relaxing and enjoyable recovery so far…

I’ve already been asked if I had plans to go back and do Cruel Jewel again… and the answer is no. I loved the experience, I love the North Georgia Mountains and everything that Cruel Jewel is... but I really hope I don’t have to do that race again. Regardless of what Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer says… a 100 miles IS a long freakin way to run. Of course I plan on covering the 100 mile distance again… but it is hard for me to wrap my head around doing the SAME 100 mile race over again when there are so many races and regions to explore! 

What’s next? Nothing for a while! I’m really really really looking forward to a few months of relaxed mountain running and exploration before diving back into training for another race.

“Run long, run wild and howl loudly!”


  1. Hey I was that friendly aid station worker at Stanley Gap! Killer job man! - Brooks Mitchell

    1. I knew it started with a "B" but for the life of me couldn't recall it! Thanks again for the chat and noodles buddy!

  2. Awesome race report man. Crazy but im from Minnesota and just did cloudsplitter and met Missy and Sunny at the hotel we were staying at prior to the race and they were talking about this race so I was checking out the race reports...and there they are in your race report. crazy..small world. Again..awesome report.

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  5. Thank you for your fun and detailed race report. I'm so glad you took the effort to write it down and post it for yourself and others. As I've done CJ 50 I could follow you along in my mind and be reminded which sections I'll have to improve my training for. You're awesome. Have fun at your next adventure!