Monday, May 17, 2010

Pinhoti Trail Adventure Run - Pacer's Perspective

A few weeks ago, a couple friends of mine, Rob Youngren and Eric Charette embarked upon an epic task: attempting to set the speed record for the entire 335 mile Pinhoti Trail. Having run both editions of the Pinihoti 100 Trail Run and the Mt. Cheaha 50k for the past two years, both of which cover portions of the Pinhoti Trail, I was somewhat interested in their journey, and whereas logistics precluded my attempting the full trail with them, I could certainly help in whatever capacity they might need for a day or so, and I was lucky enough to be utilized as a pacer for day two.

So bright and early on May 2, I met them, along with their capable crew chief Josh Kennedy, and after shuttling vehicles around, we met Rob and Eric at Chandler Springs, and I set out with them along the trail. Long story short, I ran a hair over 40 miles, and rather than steal Rob and Eric's thunder, I'll simply refer any readers to their blogs at (Rob's) and (Eric's), or the site for the run itself .

In an effort to help document the run (and just for kicks and giggles...), Eric was snapping pictures throughout the run, so here are some from day 2. Enjoy...

Refueling and swapping out water bottles for packs

Somewhere on Mt. Cheaha after the so-called "Stairway to Heaven"

I'll let you figure this one out...

At one of several road crossings with Rob

It's a train!

Many more pictures and much more thorough play-by-plays of the full adventure on the aforementioned websites and blogs. (I was only a small part of a much larger journey)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rest In Peace, Buddy

Elliott Schotz passed away this morning after battling Tay Sachs Disease for the last year and a half.

The best way I know to look at this is the way my Inimitable Mother said it when we first learned that he was nearing the end of his fight a few days ago. She said, "At least we'll know that now he'll be running around, playing, and eating ice cream, which he never got the joy of doing here."

Rest in peace, buddy. Rest in peace.

The obituary, as is found at is as follows:

Elliott Beebe Schotz, age 2, of Decatur, Alabama, died on 5/9/2010 of Tay-Sachs disease. He was born in Decatur on November 20, 2007.

In his two years, Elliott taught those around him to embrace each day and brought many people together for greater good. Elliott inspired a Run Across Alabama in July 2009, completion of a friend's first marathon in February 2010, and a continuous 100-mile run by another friend at Delano Park in March 2010.

Elliott’s interests included: sunshine, the beach, pacifiers, shiny balloons, wind, cuddling, animals, Ember (his bedside companion), going for walks, kicking in his bouncy seat, and his sister, Fiona.

Survivors include his mother and father, Eliza and Eric Schotz, and his beloved sister, Fiona Schotz, all of Decatur. Surviving grand parents include Sara and Donald Beebe of Kennesaw, GA, and Herbert and Louise Schotz of Irma, WI. He also is survived by aunts and uncles, Rebecca and John Morehous of Guntersville and Michelle and Chris Schotz of Gleason, WI, and his cousins Sara and Emily Morehous and Jordan and Riley Schotz.

A memorial service and celebration may be scheduled at a later date.

The Schotz Family wants to extend heartfelt gratitude to all who helped and supported throughout Elliott’s illness. The family requests that all memorial expressions be offered in the form of a card or a donation in Elliott’s name to one of the following organizations: 1) National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association ( and/or 2) Hospice of the Valley (

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

World Catfish Festival 5k

I just got a few pictures from the Catfish Festival 5k a few weeks ago. I think they're kind of funny, because I almost look like a real runner in them.

I got to the starting line a solid 30 seconds before the gun...

And we're off...

Cruising into the finish

Talking with Amanda and Clark, who were kind enough to drive me all the way to Belzoni for the World Catfish Festival and even rousted themselves early to come see the finish...

Talking with Armando, who had a solid second place performance at age 52

A post-race picture with Granny

Yeah, I was shamelessly promoting Fleet Feet, but I figured that every now and then, it's fun to at least look fast...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Week On the Run...

A bit of a summary of my training for April 25 - May 1, 2010:

Sun 4/25
5.5 (37:25)

Mon 4/26
AM: 5 (34:13)
After only managing to get around 30 minutes of sleep last night, I felt the urge to escape after class, whilst transferring massive quantities of binary output data. Physically, probably not the best thing I could have done, but mentally it saved my day.
PM: 6.6 (44:03)
Met Heather at the track for a relatively gentle workout that actually did a good job of helping me to decompress a little after a somewhat stressful couple of days. After the warmup to the track, did a progression run, with two at Heather's marathon pace, then one a little slower than tempo, then one with whatever we had left. I stayed with her during the first three miles, but told her I might stretch out a bit for the last one, so I managed to hit something to the tune of 6:58, 6:37, 6:24, 5:16.

Tues 4/27
Running is silly, anyway...

Wed 4/28
11.7 (1:20:06)
Ran over to the high school to run with the AORTA group, which was just planning on doing their standard 10k loop. I ran with Eric, and, as so often turns out to be the case, we ended up tacking on a mile or so to the loop and doing something of a progression-type run, but nothing too quick. After a lazy day off, it felt good to stretch the legs out a bit.

Thur 4/29
5 (35:29)
I wasn't planning on running today, but I got a call from my Inimitable Mother, telling me that Elliott Schotz is not doing so well, and given that I've done a considerable amount of running over the last year in an all-too-frustratingly-feeble attempt to help support him, his family, and research on his vile ailment, going out for a run seemed like a strangely appropriate response.

Fri 4/30
Figured it might be worth a rest day for the long weekend ahead. (and it never ceases to amaze me how much extra time you immediately have on days you don't devote hours to running...)

Sat 5/1
16.3 (2:34:07)
Ran roughly the first half (the out-and-back portion) of the Tuskegee Fat Ass 50k, running the Pleasant Hill Trail and Bartram Trail with Marcus, then waiting for the entire race field to pass by us at the Bartram trailhead, before Marcus followed them up the Bold Destiny Horse Trail to assume sweeping duties, while I simply ran back to the start. Twas a nice, relatively easy run that served as a good precursor to tomorrow's little jaunt along the Pinhoti Trail with Rob and Eric...

Total: 50.1 (6:25:23)

My approach to training this week was somewhat strange; I was trying to both use the long weekend (F.A. 50k section on Saturday and PTAR pacing on Sunday) as a solid training weekend, but I also wanted to be somewhat intelligent so as not to be a burden on the already fatigued/swamped PTAR runners and crew chief. In any case, it came together, one way or another. One more week in the books...