This took place 11/19-22/16 see below the line for the results.
Above is the link to track me during my run. If you came to this site from a flyer you received while on the Katy Trail please leave a comment on roughly when and where you saw me for reference.
This Fastest Known Time (FKT) attempt came from an idea to promote a local rails to trails program near my home in Huntsville, AL. You can get info on that trail here: N E MADISON COUNTY RAIL TRAIL. Please like the FB page to help support the effort. Also take the time to send an email or call Roger Jones, District 1 County Commissioner and let him know you support this trail. His office number is 256-828-0726 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your probably wondering why I am running a trail in MO to raise awareness for a trail in Huntsville, AL? The reason is I work for Edward Jones and our corporate office is in St. Louis, MO. Ted Jones, the son of Edward Jones, was instrumental in starting the Katy Trail roughly 25 years ago. Now it is the longest rails to trails in the nation.
I have to start by thanking my family for allowing me the time to train as well as dragging them with me on this adventure. Overall, I would say my run was a good experience. I got to see beautiful farm land, giant cliffs with caves everywhere, and a fast flowing river. Most importantly I got to spend time with my family even if it was only 10-15 minutes at the stops. I would tell one person fill the bottles, I need this, I need that. Then I would tell another what I wanted to eat. For my non runner friends being the crew means being treated bad and asked to do gross things while at the same time seeing someone go through an amazing moment. It’s a tough job.
|Even though this is the start I had to walk about a 1/4 mile back to get to the start of the trail.|
The first day was what I expected. A long day of running with some minor aches and pains. I started at 8:19am Saturday morning and finished at 1:11am Sunday for 78 miles. 78 miles is what my plan was for the day. The first excitement of the day was around mile 6. BANG!!! A gunshot went off really close to me. About 100 yards later I see a buck standing in the trees 10 yards off the trail. I stopped to get my phone out and take a picture when I noticed the buck was directly between me and three hunters standing on the other side of an open field. Around mile 20 I came across Burt, the first person I saw on the trail. Then around mile 30 I came across a lady training for her first marathon. I ran with her and her friend riding his bike for a couple miles.
I started much later than I wanted but it was below freezing and I had several minor aches and pains. When I woke up at 6am I went to the bathroom and as I came back to the bed I nearly threw up. So I decided to lay back down for a little while. I finally got started at 7:56am. There were very few people on the trail due to the temperatures. This is where I started talking to dead people. I met Bill, Ed & Margaret. Each one of them had a bench donated in their name on the trail and each one of them helped me through a section of the day. I started celebrating the old railroad mile markers. Sometimes they seemed to come fast sometimes it felt as they were 5 miles apart. The views in this section were great and it seemed to make the run go well.
|Lewis and Clark Cave|
At Cooper’s Landing, the crew stop at 109.5 miles, we decided to skip the next stop since it was only 3.75 miles. When I got going it felt good and I ran most of this section. To my surprise Michelle and the kids were at the next stop. She told me that she found a bed and breakfast place (Globe Bed & Breakfast) right off the trail and we needed to stop here. I really did not want to after how good I felt in the last section but it was obvious she needed it. This put me at 113.25 miles (38.95 for the day). I stopped at 6:30pm. I knew the next two days I had to cover 120 miles which was still in line with what I knew going in. My original goal for this point was 141.5 miles.
This was the coldest morning of the run, around 28 degrees. So I asked the host at Globe B&B for a 7am breakfast. I woke up feeling great for the distance I had covered. I sat with Michelle for a while and modified the stops for the day so I would not take as many. I hoped to make up some time. The worst thing of the morning was going down the stairs to get to breakfast. After breakfast I headed over to the RV to get my gear. When I got on the trail I had planned to walk for 5-10 minutes to get my legs warmed up and loosen the joints up. Even though I felt great it took closer to 15 minutes before I could really start running. When I did get going everything was feeling great. At mile 116 (6 for the day) I had one small emotional moment where I thought am I a good dad/husband? It’s not uncommon that you think about all kinds of things when you run long. Shortly after this, I met Michelle at the first stop and told her I was feeling good and even though it was early I thought I would walk through the night if I was feeling ok. I figured this would allow me to finish in the daylight on Tuesday. Also there was a good chance of rain on Tuesday and with the cooler weather I did not want to run in it if possible. At this point I was feeling so good that I knew I would finish. I was thinking about being successful in life and the things you need to do to get there. Things changed quickly ~10 miles later I had an emotional moment where I came close to hyperventilating. I tried to put it behind me and force myself to get moving. I listened to music for a while to take my mind off things which helped. Then I got tired of the same songs. My RoadID has Relentless Fwd Progress etched into it and I just kept telling myself that. I tried to push through the low spots they usually only last a short time. When I was coming into the next stop mile 129.25 the kids wrote in the gravel which made me emotional as well.I was hoping that one of the kids would come with me on this section but they wanted to wait until the next. We were combining the next two stops for a total 9.75 mile section. In this section I went to a very dark place emotionally. I was not thinking about anything in particular. I just had one breakdown after another. Michelle had gone ahead and realized there was not much parking at the stop we had planned so she came back to the 139.6 mile stop in Mokane. Her and Christian came out to take the usual picture at the train stop and I had to run past them to fight the emotion back. I had already made the decision to stop. She sent Christian back to the RV while I got myself together. I originally thought if I took a nap I may change my mind but I had already made the decision. I told the kids we were done and going to just camp the last two days and spend time together. Of course Christian reminded me that running is all mental.
All in all I made it ~139.6 miles in 55 hours and 21 minutes. That mileage is based off the old railroad mile post. My true mileage based off my Garmin data was 144.07 miles. The difference is due to a couple sections that deviate from the original trail. During that time I slept about 4 hours on Saturday night and around 8 hours on Sunday plus we had a few hours off trail Sunday after I stopped. I made 14 crew stops that lasted any where from 10-30 minutes.
I have run competitively since I was around 11 years old. I run because I enjoy it. I love to compete against my friends and myself. I have run races in distances from 400m to 100 miles. Through pain, hypothermia, illness etc. You may look at this as a failure. I always tell people to dream BIG…even if you fall short it is still a major accomplishment. I went to a dark place on that trail, not physically but mentally. I stayed in that place for several hours trying to push through it. My body was hurting but not bad enough to make me stop, in fact Monday night after leaving the trail I felt good. My muscles don’t ache, don’t get me wrong my left knee and right ankle are very sore and swollen. My feet are also swollen. When I was in that dark place running was no longer fun. I had ~90 miles to go. I feel confident I could have completed the distance and still set the record. I only had to average 1.75mph. While I do look at this adventure as failing to meet my goal. There was no back up or B goal. Many times if you have the B goal it becomes an excuse not to shoot for the primary goal when things get tough. I looked at it as a major accomplishment, 144.07 miles. How many people can say that they have done that? It wasn’t fast but I was focused on nutrition and taking care of my body for the full distance. I don’t know what caused the breakdown. It may have been some nutritional imbalance? When things started going really bad I started trying to eat everything I was carrying to try to correct it. Honestly I am happy with my distance and am enjoy spending time with my family on the remainder of our adventure.
|Michelle made this banner for me as a surprise. You can barely see that we edited it for the distance I covered.|
If you are interested in the data over the course of my run here are the links from each segment. It is not specifically broken down by stops only by when I changed watches.
Special Thanks to:
My Family for the support and time.
Fleet Feet Sports Huntsville for allowing me to represent them on the race team.
Edward Jones for giving me the opportunity to build a business that allows me the means and the time to pursue my dreams.
Ted & Pat Jones for actively being involved in giving back to the community especially on things like the Katy Trail.
The Huntsville Track Club & ultra running community that has pushed the boundaries on what I and others think is possible.