Cruel Jewel 106M, Blairsville, Georgia

Elevation Range: 1755' - 4271'      Elevation Gain: 33,000'       Elevation Loss: 33,000'       

May 19, 2017 - I have always loved to race. I love competing and love finding a strategy that allows me to emerge as a winner. Running 100 miles at this stage of my career is not a race, but a challenge requiring focused intent and patience, patience, patience. While my neurology is sharpened from years of racing for focused intent, I have always been at my best when my attention span is not over-challenged. While 100-mile events intrigue me to no end and continue to have a strong appeal, my patience has not been and may never be what it needs to be to continue to succeed at covering that distance all at one time. Toeing the line at Cruel Jewel proved to be just another example of my own inherent shortcoming. I came to run 106 miles, but stopped after only 25.

I can readily blame ennui, but it is more a shortcoming of patience than anything. The run started well enough from Vogel State Park. 120 of us or so headed out at noon under a warm sun and moderate humidity. The morning allowed time to rest and enjoy the company of fellow runners and their crews. A reunion with Iris Priebe and Kevin Ravasio (pix below) and Michael Scogings (pic right) put me in a happy place to begin the race.

The trail tilts up immediately out of the park. I got into queue with some friendly folks and just bided my time for the first few miles. The running and conversation was easy and the sweat flowed freely. It was going to be one of those soggy, thirsty days. After running with Michael for a mile or so I felt warmed up enough to launch into a quicker tempo. My breathing was good as I pulled back one runner after another, working the climbs well within my ability. Everything was working well.

Reaching the 8.1-mile aid station in two hours and the 15.7-mile aid station in four hours, the fifteen-minute pace per mile felt right, given the amount of climbing. I continued on to 20.6 miles, arriving in 5 and a half hours. The heat and humidity were beginning to leave their mark. A stumble and catch had left my right rotator cuff aggrevated and sore and a recurring navicular stress fracture was beginning to nag on the downhills. Leaving the 20-mile aid station I quickly assessed it was going to be a long hard day punching the trails against adverse conditions. Arriving at the turnaround within 13 hours was going to be out of reach.

Before I had a legitimate reason to abandon the race I came to a decision to stop at 25 miles to cut my loses. Once resolved in my decision I slowed down my climbing and walked most of the following five miles. My "race" was over and I bore no regrets for either toeing the line or quitting. Paramount in my mind was the overriding need for me to be fresh and strong by the following Wednesday to load a moving truck, then drive the truck for 12 hours, and unload it at my new house in Pennsylvania. Hundred milers are the epitome of physical debilitation. It would have to have been an exceptional day for me to continue to a finish, knowing full well what to expect when it was over.

I had a good "race" out to twenty miles. I felt good about doing it and have no regret about stopping. When you register for these things most of a year in advance there is no way of knowing all the circumstances that may come into play on race day. While I admire those of my trail-mates that went on to battle the dragon on its terms and finish the 106 miles, I also respect those who stopped along the way to their goal in deference to their own limitations.

Will I do it again??? Not so sure. Given my cumulative age and injuries, a reinvention of my running ambitions may be in order. I hope to always race on beautiful trails with beautiful people, just maybe more within the parameters of my patience and skillset... shorter and faster!



Aid Stations/ DB
3.7 - 8.1 - 15.7 - 20.6 - 25.5

31.0 - 36.9 - 41.7 - 47.5 - 50.2

52.9 - 58.7 - 63.7 - 69.1 - 75.0 - 80.5

85.4 - 90.3 - 97.9 - 102.3 - 106.0

Wilscot Gap and Camp Morganton