Road ID

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Death Before DNF...

In search for my next challenge (after the Tobacco Road Marathon on March 15, 2015), I found Death Before DNF 50 miler.  I have copied and pasted some info from the website.  I have a lot of training to do, but for now, here's the info...

When: August 15th, 2015
Where: Briar Bottom Camp Ground
Why: "People would do well to have more failures in their lives" - Laz
How: Only you will find that out...
DNS Marathon
Drop to 50 Miler 
DNF 100 Miler 

This course is pre-marked with maps that will be provided with in order to traverse the loop. We are looking at a 25ish mile loop that climbs, and ascends, and climbs, and ascends, and gets hard, then gets harder! We are taking a "Page" out of the Barkley's Book by placing a single set of items at the turnaround checkpoint that you need to complete. The details of that completion will only be told once you arrive at the destination. The only aid station is what you bring with out on the trail as you will be able to restock once you get back to the Start/Finish Loop. If you decide to continue back out onto the loop we will add another challenge upon your decision. If you refuse the challenge you will be given the resounding DNF label on your result list along with many others. This challenge is designed to awaken the soul and the mind in pushing your perceived limits beyond the intangible. If you accept this challenge you are braver than I. That is why I am on this side of the event. I envy your participation none the less...Our main objective is to challenge the mind, body, and soul in hopes to change you. Make the individual better through a test of courage and failure. Through failure we appreciate success. Without one you simply cannot have the other.

P.s. You will not get an award for winning. Those who challenge themselves to the fullest extent will take something from this day that will not be taken away from them ever...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forget.

My tribute...9.11 miles logged running today for those who gave all, their families, and those who are still giving.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wine Grapes

The attendant said "We just released two new wines, Peach, and Blackberry".  My wife taste tested both, and picked the Peach infused Shelton Vineyards wine.  Now to go back to our hotel room (at the same facility) and prepare for in the morning when I will be off for my second attempt to "Run the Vines" of the Shelton Vineyards.  

Morning came, breakfast past, and there I was on the starting line.  I made sure I was a few rows of people back from the actual front, but close enough to the center to make it through what appeared to be a narrow starting chip timing shoot.  The race started a few minutes late, but soon I was forcing myself to slow from a 7 minute pace to a 7: 40ish pace.  Prior to this morning, I've mostly been training at long distances, but today, I would hopefully cash in some stock in the periodic speed and hill work over the past month.  

The course started in the hotel parking lot, took a right turn onto the adjacent roadway, and then trekked straight along some rolling hills for about the first 3 miles.  Somewhere near mile 3, the course made a 90 degree left turn into an actual house/property section, with wine grape rows on each side of the drive.  Just before making the turn, I took note of the police car, with the race leader not far behind, already traveling away from the turn I was about to make.  I tried to take in the beautiful view, but was soon distracted by the steep hill leading up to a plantation style house.  With a counter-clockwise circle drive turn around at the top, I was headed back down the hill.  I was able to gain a little momentum and a bit of encouragement as I met all the runners who were behind me prior to the turn.  To my surprise, I spied a few runners who I anticipated would have been way ahead of me.

The course pretty much was all declines and inclines from here on out.  I ran mile 4 almost all down hill, not really passing anyone, but maintained a respectable pace.  After that, miles 5-finish were 90% uphill, except for the last half mile or so.  I was encouraged that I did not slow down much, and even picked off a few younger looking runners.  I took water at the last stop, and made my way up the final accent, then turned left onto the last portion of highway before reaching the main entrance to Shelton Vineyards.  Just before the entrance, with about .2 to go, I kicked in what I had left in my gas tank and passed approximately 5 people, most of which were my senior, so I didn't get too excited.

I was motivated as the finish line clock came in to view and I was able to make out 47 minutes and something.  Yes, I forgot to stop my watch, but the official results link is below.  

At the 10 k awards, the 40-49 age group winners came and went without my name leaving the announcer's mouth.  My wife and I made our way back to the parking lot, where she had drove ahead to watch me finish, and we were off to enjoy the rest of  the day in Mount Airy (commonly know as the Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show).

The Wine - Spending a weekend away in the beautiful countryside of northwestern NC with my wife of 20 plus years.  

The Grapes - Well, I must say my second attempt at Running the Vines was bitter-sweet.  Bitter in that I did not run as fast as I wanted, but sweet that in a two years I shaved off 59 seconds from my total time from 2012.  

Official Results:
Time- 47:46:50
Pace- 7:42
AG-12 of 27
Overall- 41 of 208

Results Link-

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Ebb, Flow, & Snow

The temperature was 43 degrees, wind speed around 12 mph, and rain fell as I watched the steady stream of runners dotted with umbrellas, ponchos, trash bags, and such, headed towards the Starting Line of the 17th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon.  At 0610 am, February 15, 2014, I peered out my hotel room window, while thinking how happy I was for deciding to splurge for our last minute reservation at the only hotel located at the race venue (Hampton Inn, Broadway at the Beach).

Armed with a Garmin on each wrist, a heart rate monitor, dressed in my black CW-X Endurance tights, a black dri-fit Fleet Feet t-shirt, and covered by my Sheddable Shell disposable jacket,  My feet were socked by Balega socks and placed snug inside my Asics GTX 2000 Trail Shoes.  You read that right, I opted to wear my trail shoes made with Gortex material so they would drain and dry from the rain.  And let me not forget my Tifosi Running Glasses and my old faithful neon yellow Nike running hat.  About half past 6, I headed out in the blowing rain to claim my spot among approximately 10,000 marathon/half marathon runners,

After meeting up with a handful of North Carolina Troopers there to run the marathon as well (all were returning MBM marathoners, but me), I couldn't find DM Friend Brad G. in the crowd, so I took my place, started my GPS watch satellite finder, and anticipated the start of my first sanctioned marathon.  I've ran a 50k, but never an official marathon.

Miles 1-12

My pace stayed between 8:40ish and 9 minute miles as planned.  I also shed my disposable rain jacket within the first mile or so after the rain ceased.  The marathon's first few turns led by the Pelican Park/Finish Line Chute Entrance, out to King's Highway toward the south end of Myrtle Beach.  A few more turns and miles, and the route took the runners down the main drag running parallel to the ocean.  Now running north and somewhere along this area, I had a brief conversation with an older gentleman named Vince from Ontario.  I noticed Vince due to his grey hair and older look.  I shared with Vince the fact that I always kid my wife about wanting to be that "old guy" running when I'm 70.  Well, come to find out, Vince was 70.  We talked a few minutes, encouraged one another, and I told Vince farewell and wished him luck completing his half marathon adventure.  Yes, both half-marathon & full marathon runners left at the same time and location, but the half-marathoners split off the route around 12 miles to headed back towards Pelicans' Park to the Finish Line.

Somewhere around mile 11

From a physiological standpoint, I felt well rested, and strong in my pace of sub-9 minute miles.  Every 2 miles I hydrated with fluids and electrolytes.  At miles 5 & 10, I fueled with a Huma Energy Gels made with chia seeds and other natural ingredients.  

Miles 13-20

Who flipped the switch was what I was asking myself.  Almost like clockwork, as I hit miles 13 and beyond,  there was an appreciable drop in my energy levels.  I didn't feel like I was bonking, but my body was almost saying to've reached the distance you've trained at/for, so why are you not hitting the stop time button on your Garmin.  As a result, somewhere between miles 15 and 20 I incorporated some walk breaks to include, but not limited to the hydration stations.  During this segment, I remember seeing a woman sitting on the cement curb, hole torn in her black running tights, and a quarter size bloody gash in her knee.  Needless to say, she looked like she was a DNF and was being assisted by the MBM staff.  Ouch.  Again, at miles 15 & 20 I fueled with Huma Energy Gels.

Miles 21-24

Still trying to minimize the damage of my energy loss/slower pace, I tried to push where I could and walk where I could not.  I will have to say at somewhere along these miles, I reminded myself I was not competing as a professional athlete and just finishing the marathon was a huge accomplishment for a 41 year old male.  Somewhere around mile 23, I fueled with the last item left in my 2 bottle Nathan Hydration waist pack, a package of Extreme Sports Beans with Caffeine, watermelon flavor.

Miles 25-Finish

I passed a Myrtle Beach Police Officer, who I had thanked for what he was doing earlier in the race.  This officer now returned the nicety and said " You better keep going Trooper, you're almost there."  I was encouraged by his words and continued towards the finish.  At some point, I found myself running between Jersey Barrier type partitions, which formed the funnel to the Finish Line.  I crossed the line with no increased, or burst of energy, but remember one of the volunteers saying "You can stop running now."  Just then, another volunteer placed a MBM Finishers' Medal around my neck.  It was over, my first official marathon.

My take:
Although I was disappointed with not running a sub-4 hour marathon, I was very happy about the fact I'm 41 and can traverse 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 19 minutes.  I do want to return for the 18th Annual MBM for a little revenge if you will, but in the interim...I'm going to focus on my base, work in a handful of half marathons, and try to run a full this fall.

My Stats:
Kelly Stewart, Newton, NC
Bib# 2219
10K Split- 58:07.5
13.1 Split- 01:57:36.2
18.3 Mi Split- 02:52:14.6 
Gun Time- 04:19:07.7  
Chip Time- 04:18:47.5 
Pace-9:53 41
Age Group-93 out of 155 
Overall- 708 out of 1620

The Snow:  Besides the 4-5 inches on my driveway before we left for the beach, it was the multitude of runners of all walks of life that ran with me, in front and behind me.  The hope of another race, and accompanying my wife as she completed her 1st Official 5k, The MBM Neon Night 5k the night before my marathon.

My Wife & I after completing her first 5k together

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mill Stoned

It was around 5:15am as my alarm clock sounded.  The day for my first 50K had arrived.  I got up, made sure my wife was moving around, and starting stuffing carbs down my throat even though I was not really hungry.  My better half and I loaded up in the CRV and hit the road.

I arrived at Anne Springs Close Greenway just after 7am.  This was my second ever visit to this venue, the first was to do a training run this past January.  A handful of runners were already there "milling" around as I found a parking place with a view.  My wife was there to go on our Valentine's Celebration Cruise, and just happened to get to watch my race from the comfort and warmth of our vehicle.  My scan of the competition revealed a myriad of runners, male/female/old/young/ and everything in between. 

After packet pick-up, I took care of all that last minute business runners must do and found my way to the starting line, or starting cones as it turned out.  To my surprise, there was not a big to-do at the start, just a safety briefing and the race director snapped a couple of pics.  With both Garmins (yes, I was wearing one on each wrist) I heard the Race Director say Go....Just like that, I began my journey to complete 31 miles for the first time in my life. 

The First Loop (10.5 miles)
The beginning of the loop started on a packed gravel road, which lead down a slight grade and turned to the right where I encountered the first water crossing of the course.  The temperature was around 38ish degrees and there I was with wet feet within the first quarter of a mile.  There was a narrow footbridge available, but it was slower and not as inviting as just going for it through the water.  After the Steele Creek Crossing, the loop quickly turned into a single track trail that parallelled a pasture surrounded by a wire fence.  After about a 1/2 mile of following the fence line, the trail lead into the wilderness and was not much more than a well beaten path covered with leaves.  I crossed several swinging type walkways along with a few static board walks.  The first aid station was at mile 3.5, just after passing the Historic Millstone.  This aid station also served as the 7 mile mark aid station.  Not much more than a couple of volunteers with clipboards, water & gatorade, and a few snacks.  Past the aid station came the East/West School Loops, which were made up of mostly single track trails and a few pedestrian tunnels that went under roadways.  After exiting the School Loops, I passed the Grist Mill, and was headed back to the start/finish line.  At some point between the Mill and the start/finish line, I traversed through the second creek crossing as pictured below.

2nd Creek Crossing

After this crossing, I continued on a single track trail through some of the muddiest parts of this run.  I finally made my way around the lake and up several inclines back to the beginning of the loop.  My first loop was completed at somewhere around a 10 minute per mile pace, which I'm sure for my training was a bit fast and ill advised by my DM Friend Patrick...but I was having fun and experimenting at the same time.

The Second Loop (10.5 Miles)

As I began my second leg of this run, I shed the long sleeve shirt pictured above and my beanie that you see me carrying in my right hand.  I was continuing to fuel with gatorade at the aid stations and water from my hydration pack as my thirst required.  I had planned to eat at some of the aid stations, but I really had to force my self to get down GU's, etc.  My second lap was ran very similar to my first and again, I averaged a 10 minute or so mile back to the starting point of my final lap, except this time I was starting to feel a bit spent.

My Final Loop (10 miles)

I left my wife this time with not a lot of gas in the tank.  This time around, I was walking a lot more inclines than the previous two loops, and at some points, really asking myself what the heck was I thinking...and then I reminded myself of my Extreme Personality and desire to PUSH my limits.  I did pass a few runners on my last lap, as with my previous 2, but I got passed some too.  I distinctly remember passing a gentleman that appeared to be in his early 20's, who commented as I passed him while he was walking..."it's just about survival at this point."  In my mind I was agreeing as we were both reduced to walking this particular section, but when I started my shuffle again in an attempt to look like I was running, he was still walking.  I never saw him the rest of the race.  Soon, I found myself digging deep, even if only to walk a lot, I vowed silently to myself I would not quit, but would die first.

A Family Finish

During my final loop shuffle, it became very clear to me I would not finish near the time I told my wife and family to start looking for me (I projected a 5 hour, 10 minute finish).  As I rounded the last corner, and started my final shuffle up about a 2% grade for the last 1/2 mile to the finish line, my family came into view, but they were walking towards me.  My wife threw up her hands (I don't know if it was out of relief, or frustration form my 1 hour and 10 minute variation of my original projected finish time).  As I neared, my wife, daughter, and her boyfriend (my daughter & boyfriend had driven from their college to see me finish) began to shuffle beside me and my wife informed me they had come to run the last few strides with me.  Later on, my wife shared with me they had started to get concerned I may have fallen and injured myself, or something.  (Well, I had fell, hit my knee, but got up and kept going.)  We reached the top of the incline, I made a hard left and ran through the finish chute, at which time two volunteers placed a large hand crafted metal mill stone medallion around my neck hanging from a green ribbon and said something like... "Congratulations!"  I stopped my Garmin (which read 6:23:16), but my wife's Garmin had stopped itself at mile 29 due to the battery life. 

Just like that, I had reached a very coveted milestone in my life by running the
Mill Stone, and somehow wondered about how I would have to do a better job training for a 50 mile race...

Trying to muster a SMILE with Jade, my oldest.

My official times can be found here:

Lessons Learned-

I firmly believe in most training situations for long distances, you should at least run the same distance of the target distance once in training, if not more.  I felt much more prepared and stronger during my first 1/2 marathon in November 2012. 

I may experiment with not wearing a hydration pack in future ultra runs, perhap, I will utilize the handheld bottle method.  I really felt weighted down, even though I completed 99% of my training runs wearing hydration pack filled with water.

I may also experiment with actually stopping at the aid stations and not just running to and through them.


The rush of the run.

Knowing I finished this feat after just turning 40.

Seeing my family meet me to run to the finish line.

The satisfaction of knowing I did it!!!

The Grand Finale

You guessed it, a short trip to The Bahamas with an Angel I met flying too low to the ground who I married in June of 1993.

Sunrise off the coast of Freeport, Bahamas.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Peaches & Cream

My 20 weeks of training had finally come to an end; FINALLY, I was in Savannah, Georgia to run my first official half marathon. My wife and I flew in from Charlotte the day before, dropped our luggage off by the hotel, and headed out to get some grub and of course, my race packet. As for the grub, well as analytical as I am, i.e. researching area restaurants prior to our wife picked the Satisfied Restaurant ( on the fly (great choice & highly recommended), and there I had a Roast Beef Panini and homemade potato chips with ranch dressing.

Satisfied Restaurant Corner Booth with a Great View 

After finishing lunch, my wife decided to send me to the EXPO by myself while she caught some well-deserved Zzzzz's. I made my way to the River Street and caught a ferry over to the Expo Center. As I entered, I noted several people doing on-site registration. I continued by them, through the Rock N Roll Series banner and to the "S" alphabetical letter desk to retrieve my packet. First my bib #5330, then for my shirt and swag bag. At first I was a bit disappointed in the green tech tee, but after a while it grew on me. As I rounded the bend, I enter a Brooks Running Jungle. At first glance, I thought the only gear that was for sell was by Brooks and REALLY high priced...but I was pleased to discover other running vendors outside the initial entry area of the Expo. Another pleasure was meeting up with two of my Dailymile friends Chris U.

& Jason for the first time in person, who were also there to run the half. We checked out the vendors, sampled a few nutritional products (and squirrelled some away for later too, scientific research purposes of course...), and I ended up purchasing a sticker that read "If I collapse, someone please pause my GARMIN". I also bought a tube of lime flavored NUUN tablets ( for my hydration needs during future training based on rave reviews from my Dailymile friend Dave. Chris, Jason, and I said our goodbyes, snapped a few pics, and I set off toward my hotel.

Left to Right: Chirs U., Me, & Jason

...Race Morning

I woke up at 5 something in the morning, trying to take it slow, and methodically prepare for my big day (yes, I had laid out my gear in order the night before). The slow part worked out, but methodically went out the proverbial window about 6am when I could feel an adrenaline dump from the anticipation of the race. I literally held out my hand at one point to show my wife the visible shaking in my hand as I held it out in front of me. I'm sure this shaking was proof that all the training had made me want to make sure I didn't blow my big day. My wife and I left our room about 6:45 and started our half mile journey towards the start line. Once there, she told me good luck and we went our separate ways, after which I made my way down to corral 4. Heeding the advice from my Dailymile friend Lamond V., aka, I got in line for the Port-A-Potties at 7:30. Almost to the minute, Lamond's estimation of a 30 minute wait time was right on spot, upon my exit; I could hear the announcer telling the first set of runners to get ready. I made, my way into the front part of a very crowded corral and waited for our turn.

Start - Mile 5ish

I came across the start line and immediately made my way toward the right side into an area that seemed to have fewer runners. As I looked ahead, I saw the first and biggest incline of the race, which went over the same water area that separated River Street from the Expo. I mentally tried to stay calm and focus on my HR (Heart Rate). Yes, I'd elected monitoring my HR on my GARMIN as my race pace strategy. (Lesson learned from my training: My HR Mode on my GARMIN is equitable to the tachometer on my car. My 3000 RPM's is around 155 BPM HR. My 4000-5000 RPM's is between 155-170 BPM HR, and between 170-186 [my max HR] is 6000 RPM's to my Red Line Area.) As I made it over the hill, I saw a sea of runners going straight ahead for at least a mile. The route then took a left as we started through a residential area of Savannah. The streets were lined with residents/spectators offering encouragement and our first water supply. As my GARMIN (, dinged alerting me of mile 2, I pulled out my water bottle with electrolytes mixed in (Walmart brand), and downed a couple of gulps. We continued to weave through residential streets and ended up back under the highway ramps and bridges. By mile 5, I had started to get into my rhythm and could feel my adrenaline starting to give way to my training and experience. I continued to monitor my HR just like you would if you wanted to maximize the performance from a finely tuned race car. No...I don't think I'm a race car, but the theory is the same...vroommmmm, change get the picture.

Start Line of the Race

Miles 6-10

I was amazed at how great I felt at the 10k mark. I even was mentally having a dialogue with myself about how I felt I could pick up the pace, but me and myself agreed that I would probably burn out before the finish line if I kicked it up this early. Still trying to maintain my HR between 165-170, I was running just over an 8 minute mile. Somehow I missed seeing my wife in the crowd at the starting line, but quickly gained a visual on her after she called out my name around the 6.5 mark. Editor's Note: It’s amazing how energizing the voice of a loved one can make you feel!!! Fast forwarding to around mile 9, I made a mental note that for the first time in the race, I saw an appreciable amount of runners beginning to walk, or at least take walking breaks. I remember thinking to myself maybe the explanation for this was some of those runners had trained to the 10k, or 10 mile point and stopped and their bodies were beginning to peter out. As I neared the 10 mile mark, I could feel my body for the first time feeling some loss of energy, but there was no doubt in my mind I had enough gas in the tank to not only finish this race, but keep up my current pace of around 8:10-8:20 minutes per mile.

Miles 10-12.5

I continued my HR monitoring, but noticed my HR naturally wanted to hover around 170-175 BPM now. I dialed back my pace a bit in an attempt to lower my HR, wanting to have enough gas in the tank to really kick it in the last mile or so. The full marathoners and the novelist half marathoners like me had run the same route until mile marker 11.5, but then split our paths. From the split to around mile 12ish, I continued to focus on my HR as well as I started sizing up approximately how many people I could pass. I also continued to implement my hydration, fueling, and cooling strategy of fluid every 2, GU every 4, and from about mile 6 onward at every water station I dumped a cup of cold water over my head to keep my core temperature down.

Miles 12.5- 13.1

...Now nearing the finish line, I remembering a funny shout out during which someone said "Use the Force", and I thought ???. Simultaneously, I started my accent up the 2nd biggest incline prior to making a right turn after which, the Finish line was in sight. After making the turn, I immediately kicked in what I had left in my tank. I'm not sure on the number, but in my estimation, I passed probably 30 or so runners before crossing the finish line and stopping my GARMIN.

At the Finish Line / Secured Finisher's Corral

I remember running through and past the finish line before reducing my speed. Several volunteers were handing out finisher medals, at which point I lowered my head and someone placed it around my neck. Just like that, 20 weeks of training came to an end and I reaped the reward (more than just a medal) of a lot of self-sacrifice, hard work and determination. Was it worth it? Absolutely! I heard my wife call my name again, as she was paralleling me outside the security barriers. I gladly accepted all the fluids and fuel being handed to me by volunteers before exiting the secured area and reuniting with my wife.

Adjacent the Finish Line Post-Race
My Offical Stats:
Finished In:
Kelly Stewart
Newton, NC
Age: 39 | Gender: M
879 out of 11166
95 out of 647
608 out of 3598

5 km-24:59
10 km-50:55
10 mi-1:22:32
Chip Time-01:48:37
Clock Time-01:51:54
The Peaches:

Having a wife and children who support me and my love for running.

Successfully finishing my first official half marathon injury free.

Having Dailymile Friends that support and encourage me as well as provide training plans, advice based on their successes and failures, and A SUPER COOL PICTURE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Picture made by Dailymile Friend Michael Cruz

The Cream:

My training and DM friend Scott S., who selflessly constructed a non-traditional 20 week training Heart Rate Plan and provided support during my journey.

Meeting 2 of my DM friends in person for the first time, Chris U. and Jason.

My DM friend Michael C., who was nice enough to post my initial results because I've temporarily downgraded from a smart phone.

My DM friend Brad G. , who was nice enough to meet me in Raleigh, while I was out of town and in his neighborhood, to continue my training runs.

My DM friend Dave N. who without knowing it, acted as my hydration and fueling coach. Dave, if you're reading this, you have been instrumental in my approach to hydration & fueling.

The lady who was running the race as a tribute to Lauraine (who died after a 5 year battle with cancer) on the back of her shirt and was running in front of me until around mile 3.

My post-race trip to Jamaica, during which my wife and I got to reconnect after some major months of work and daily grind stress of life.

Thatched Umbrellas on the Jamaican Coastline, Where We Sunbathed Daily

(And YES, I took this picture myself)

Editor's Note: I purposely left the "Born to Run", book by Chris McDougall at home, just to get completely away from running, however, I brought and read "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen

I said that to say this...I highly recommend it, if for no other running related reason; I think we (runners) could learn a lot from Navy SEALS in regard to "Pushing negative thoughts from our minds" and "Willing ourselves to and through the task at hand". It was a GREAT read for MULTIPLE Reasons.

...and NO, I didn't run a step during my vacation.

Growing Forward... As a quote I just read while copying the link to GARMIN's website stated, "Motivation can't be measured, but performance can.", I will now begin my training on November 11th for my next goal in my running journey, the ASC Greenway 50k Trail Race in Fort Mill, S.C.

Some may ask why I'm skipping running my first official Full Marathon???

Well, 50k is only a few more miles, and I feel this race aligns more appropriately with my medium and long range running goals which are as follows:

December 2013, Table Rock Ultra 50 Mile Race,

April 2014, Umstead 100,