Operation Ultra 24 Hour Endurance Run
 to benefit the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America 
Kingwood, West Virginia 1,1
November 9, 2012 - After swearing I was taking off the winter from racing
upon banging up my leg in Connecticut, I got anxious, and optimistic, after
a bit of recovery and signed up for this benefit event in the eleventh hour.
The swelling of my right tibia and major discoloration from cracking my leg
in a spectacular rocky fall had mostly subsided, so I gave myself (mostly)
a clean bill of health to once again toe the line.

The IAVA event was kicked off by a fitting honor guard of Army guardsmen at
Camp Dawson along the Cheat River a half hour east of Morgantown.  I always
enjoy crossing the border to race and this time was no exception.  A half dozen
of us heading off at exactly 10 a.m., including race director Jim Lostroscio, to
chase a variety of mileage objectives in the next 24 hours.  For me, it was an
opportunity to run a level course at a designated pace without being tripped
up by roots and rocks for as long as I chose.  Being mostly a trail runner 
I wanted to see how disciplined I could be running the same route over and
over without losing focus, perhaps to shoot for PR's at 100K and 100M.
Mostly I came without expectation and was open to going as long as I held
together mentally and physically.

Along with good company I was able to hold a comfortable ten-minute relaxed
tempo for the first 25 miles without any ill-effects or loss of focus.  The field 
was thin but the people were all really friendly, so it was easy to continue.
Temperature-wise the day was perfect, warming into the sixties with a nice
breeze that started from the north before shifting in the opposite direction.
With remnants of two feet of snow from two weeks before still clinging
to the surrounding hills the breeze had a chilly bite to it, at least while running
south.  As soon as we turned to run north the sun took over and it actually 
became hot with the wind at our backs, causing everyone to drink a lot.

A rifle range across the adjoining airfield rang out with its rapidfire report on and
off throughout the day.  Between the course and the Cheat River were a couple
rappel towers that gave me cause several times to think about climbing and 
wish somehow that rappeling could have been part of the day's adventure.

Somewhere in the 26th mile I felt a dinger in my right hip from pounding the
pavement for four hours.  My old joints are used to soft surfaces, I guess, and
started to complain.  After 27 miles I sat down for the first time and immediately
experienced pain in both my lower back and neck and shoulders - again, from
running on macadam, probably.  Muscle pain is something I often ignore; 
mechanical pain always gets my immediate attention.  I didn't get up from my
seat to continue.  The next day would confirm that it would not have been worth
continuing to risk an aggrevated injury.

So I ended with a small tally for a 24-hour challenge, but enjoyed the company
of some very nice people, and came away satisfied with how my body responded
to the effort otherwise.  Without any new injury to nurse I have three months to
rest and build strength for the next 24-hour challenge - on soft surfaces - down
in Carolina.  I'm looking forward to some enjoyable, playful winter running.