My Daily Facebook Post From The 439 Mile Honor Run

Day 1 in the books, 41 miles. It was a hot day on the concrete trail. Thank you all for the amazing support! Let us never forget our fallen!

 

Day 2 is in the books. 41miles again today. Feeling like I should with 82 miles on the legs.

 

Day 3 is in the books, 40 miles. Making a three day total of 122 miles. Body is feeling great! Team Footsteps is doing an amazing job caring for me. I do see all yalls post, and it moves me to tears reading them. Thank you all, and let us never forget our fallen.

 

Day 4 done, 38 miles today. Total for the four day is 160 miles. Body still feeling great.

 

Day 5 in the books. 41 miles today, totaling 201 miles. Not sure how the body should feel with 200 miles on it. But things are starting to talk to me. Team Footsteps is doing an amazing job caring for me. I do feel the energy of our fallen with me. Thank you all for all the very kind post.

 

Day 6 in the books, 43 miles, totaling 244 miles. Today hurt, sorry but I walked 99% of today. Team Footsteps is doing an amazing job keeping me moving forward. I could use some extra prayers, my friends.

 

Day 7 in the books, 41 miles, totaling around 280. Today was a little better day. I had a god talk with the Big Guy, and it's ok to walk. Big Shout out to Waco Fire, Engine 4, A Shift for the escort. Nothing like turning around at mile 34 and seeing some brothers in a big fire truck with their light on. Thank you all for the prayers.

 

Day 8 done, 42 miles. Legs feeling a little better, a little. Totaling around 347 miles. It's getting close friends.

 

Day 9 in the books, 38.9 miles. Totaling 366.7 miles. Today was amazing. It started with Waco Fire escorting me until Hewitt Fire could pick me up. Then Lorena Fire escorted until Bruceville-Eddy Fire pick me up. Then the most amazing thing in Bruceville happen. The school let all the kids come out 1st-12th grade, lined the street cheering. Then once in Moody, Moody Fire and PD escorted to the county line. Today was amazing friends. I cried more today then over the last 9 days. Keep praying I can just keep one foot in front of the other.

 

Day 10 in the books, 38 miles, totaling 404 miles. Today I met a run on the road, great guy. We shared stories and he went on his way. Then a few miles down a lady and her son stopped and gave me a bottle of water, so sweet of them. Then we had to deal with lots of road work, fun fun. Once out of that, we found fresh blacktop for the last 15 miles, was it ever hot. Tomorrow this amazing journey ends, but in one way the next journey begins. Team Footsteps has done an amazing job. There is no way anyone could do anything like this without a team like Tram Footsteps. Thank you all for all the support to all of us as we roll down the road. Let us never forget our fallen or their families.

 

Day 11 finished, 34 miles, totaling 439 miles. What an amazing life journey. Thank you all for all your support and kind words. Let us never forget our fallen.

Over All Stats
Total Distance: 439.77 miles
Total Time on Feet: 117 Hours, 32 Minutes
Total Elevation Gain: 9817 Feet
Approximate Calories Burned: 41,740. I lost 10 pounds
Fluid intake: 8 – 10 liters of water a day

Tony Constanzo

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Happening Now

NEWRunning Man-JPEGLogo web

 

Footsteps For The Fallen is moving forward with its determined goal of becoming its own 501c3. We have begun the arduous process of paperwork, and hope to achieve 501c3 status just after the first of the year. We have filed our Article of Incorporation with the State of Texas, and hope to have it in place by the end of Sept 2014. Once we have our Incorporation in place, we will start up our fundraising campaign. We will also be at number of events, so stay tuned for them, and we hope to see you at them.

Footsteps For The Fallen would appreciate your ongoing support during this time of obtaining 501c3 status. We will keep you posted as this new journey begins for Footsteps For The Fallen.

As always, thank you for your dedicated support

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Overtraining Syndrome

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with, overtraining syndrome.

I sure most of you are asking yourself, whats overtraining syndrome? I did the same not just two weeks ago.

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individuals exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. It is a real body injury, not something made up to just get out of training or racing.

My journey began back in February with the completion of my first 100 miler followed by four weeks rest, thinking this was enough. I did an easy 5k followed two weeks later by a half and full marathon on the same weekend followed the very next weekend by 25 miles of the Texas Independence Relay "TIR". That's around 170 hard race miles in a month and a half, on top of all the training miles.

Three days after the TIR I came down with a fever and real bad headache. Was it spring allergies the flu or something else like Lyme's disease. The fever would break with Ibuprofen and the headache would feel a little better. This went on for 5 days. The day the fever broke for good, my hands, knees and feet swelled to the point of hurting! I have had swelling before during a race, but never like this! So I did what I should of done a week earlier, went to the doctor. After the Q&A with the doctor, I told him my resent race history. Yes he thinks I'm crazy, but that a different story. He had no clue as to what was going on. So he ordered blood work to see if that would show anything. I the mean time it was just rest and wait to see if the blood work helped.

This is where the, Thank God for knowing the right people comes in!

To back up just a little, when I did the full marathon, I took part in a cardiac study with the University of Pittsburgh. This study was to maybe help find out just why people die of heart attacks at the finish line of marathon. They did blood work on me before and after the race, 12 lead EKG before and after, holter monitor during the race and the 24 hours after the race. I was all wired up for science!

Back to the story

One of the doctors that helped with the study had seen me make a few Facebook postings about not feeling right and all the swelling and stuff.

She contacted me and ask a lot of questions that the first doctor did not ask. Keep I mine she works with endurance athlete's on just this! It didn't take her long to tell me, I was Overtrained!

Me, how could I be overtrained? I don't put in 100 plus mile weeks, I only put in 35 miles a week training for my 100 miler! I don't race 100 milers once a month. Easy, I trained for 8 hard months for my 100 miler, then jump right back into other races. Over 10 months of hard training/racing with very little to no quality rest for the body! And it was shutting down in a very bad way! Like stop now or I just may die on you!

Some of my symptoms here, resting heart rate went from 50 to 80, B/P way up, hint's the bad headache, Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy, Pain in muscles and joints, Depression, Moodiness and irritability, Decreased appetite, Peeing what seemed  like every 20 mins. This is just the ones that I can name real easy, I'm sure there are others that a doctor could point out.

Three days after the swelling came, it went away just as fast. I have been sleeping a lot more then I have in years. I'm starting to feel a little better, but have no plans to go out a train. With the strong words of advise, I will be taking a full month off from all workouts, more time if needed. The blood work did come back, everything showed normal.

I want to thank Serina, for what I'm saying, more than likely saved my life! Along with Vanessa, one of the other doctors with the study for checking up on me. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You is not enough! I will be buying yall a beer or 4 the next time yall are in town!

Guys I just could of been one more number they report on! I have learned to listen to my body in the last year when it come to training, guess I still have a tons to learn!

If there is one word of advise I can give you, log your resting heart rate! If it starts to go up for seemingly no reason, STOP training and get with a Sports Medicine doctor! You can DIE from this! If I would of done what I was thinking I needed, a short run, it just could of killed me!

We as Ultra Endurance Athletes push our minds and bodies to the limits like no other sport! It only makes since to take a REAL break in our training/racing to let it truly recover! Kids, I pushed my body to the out most limits and I didn't like what it looked like! It scared the HELL out of me! When you have someone in the field say to you, you are at risk of a cardiac event! You damn right I'm going to park it!

Live to race a nether day!

Stay safe out there my friends and I'll see you on the trails!

Tony Constanzo

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Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile, 2013

Rocky Raccoon 2013

Let me start with a recap of last years RR100. I dropped at mile 60, end of recap.

Now for this year, Rocky Raccoon 100, 2013

My journey started on Friday with the hour and a half drive to Huntsville. What a beautiful day it was, not a cloud in the sky! Once I made it into Huntsville and was all checked into the hotel, I made my way out to the State Park.

"This is where amazing people go to make epic shit happen!"

I just hope to be part of that group this year!

I ran into Joe Prusaitis the RD for the Tejas Trails races and an amazing ultra runner alone with being a great all around guy! With him was Liza Howard, also an amazing ultra runner and great all around person! After our hand shakes and hugs, Joe ask if I was ready. The answer was, much more than last year! The mind is so much stronger now! Little did I know at that time, just how much I would push the mind!

My crew was on there way to the park, couldn't wait to be with them!

Packed pick up started and my lucky number for the weekend would be bib #51. I liken it to, Area 51, being I just could be seeing some crazy stuff in the 30 hour time limit for the race!

Trail briefing went good, nothing really new, other than, look out for them roots! We think Joe ships in extra roots just for the race.

After trail briefing, we took a group photo of all Team Red, White and Blue members that were there, Go Eagle!

Now for a little team dinner time. My crew had a campsite for the weekend, so we did burgers with all the sides at their site. It was so relaxing to be with them. I was trying to keep my mind off of race day until race day.
But come on, when you're just 12 hours away from toeing the line of a 100 mile race, it's kind of hard to not think about it.

After a great dinner I made my way to the Holiday Inn Express for one last good nights sleep. I was in bed by 8pm with a 4am wake up coming up! So yes, I can say, but I did say at a Holiday Inn Express last night! Lets see just how good that saying is.

RACE DAY BABY!

The day I've been looking forward to for a year was finally here! One last nice hot shower, then time to lube up and gear up! I stop down in the lobby for a cup of coffee, been coffee free for 3 weeks! And get this crap, they didn't have any ready! Really people, no freaking coffee! So off I go, coffee less. I called my crew to let them know I was on the road to the park and I would see them in 30-45mins. They would have coffee waiting for me!

Time to toe the line!

One year of revenge was about to get started! I took my place in the back of the field, telling myself, you have 30 hours to pass people, just take it easy.
The horn sounded and off we went, 375 crazy 100 milers! "Rocky Raccoon 100 is a 5 loop course, 20 miles each loop." The first loop went by in a flash, it seemed as, somewhere around 4hrs 33mins.

Let me add, these years race plan was to take the race, aid station to aid station, nothing more. If you think about the whole 100 miles, the mind will go crazy!

Loop 2, 20 miles in

Off for 20 more fun filled miles! I knew this loop it would start getting warm, so I would need to take in more fluids. All was going great until mile 24 when a big time cramp hit me on the inside of the left thigh! Not freaking now, this is not happening! It stop me dead in my tracks! Ok, what to do? More Salt! Salt fixes everything on the trail! I dropped one SaltStick and started to just walk it off. After a half mile, back in the game! Other than the one cramp it went real good, coming in around 5hrs 20mins for the loop.

Loop 3, 40 miles in

20 more fun miles coming up! This loop would be getting dark before I make it back in, so my crew gave me my lights. They then said they would meet me at the Park Road aid station with my gloves, arm sleeves and beanie. Ok that sounded good. About 6 miles into the loop it was dark enough to turn on the lights, let the night time fun begin! Looking at my times, I was feeling real good about having a lot of time in the bank! The body was still feeling good, even after 45 plus miles on it. I was coming up on the 50 mile mark, at this point last year, I knew I was going to time out. But this year, I was in major kick butt gear! I hit the 50 mile mark, right at 12hrs! This was a BIG moment for me. I just PRed my 50 mile time by 29mins! And I'm feeling great with 50 more to go! I was over 3 hours ahead of last years time at this point! It was starting to get a little cool so I was looking forward to seeing my crew to get my gear. I got into Park Road only to not see my crew! Crap, getting cold. I refilled my bottle and still no crew. Got to go. I told myself, they will meet you at the start of loop 4. This only 4.4 miles away. But it's real hard to not keep thinking about getting cold or will they be there! As I was coming end for the end of this loop, I started yelling crew names out hoping they would hear me. BAM, I hear one of them yell back! This loop took around 5hrs 20mins.

Loop 4, 60 miles in
I can now have a pacer run with me.

Only two crew member were there, no cold weather gear! I was told it would be at the Nature Center aid station, 3. something miles away. Ok, deal with it Tony, you're not going to die in that few miles. Time to go, ok Mike lets do this! Mike was my first pacer. It was great to have someone to talk to and to pass along my needs to my crew. We made our way into Nature Center and there they were, gloves, arm sleeves and beanie, much better! I also picked up a new pacer, Melissa. Melissa is a road runner, so this would be her first time on true trails, much less at night! She would be with me for 12 miles. The first few miles was a little tough on her, but she got her footing down and did great! We talked about all kinds of stuff. But then there were times I didn't want to talk. I told my pacers before hand this could happen. The back half of this loop I needed to do more power walking then running. Body starting to feel the 70 plus miles on it. But the mind was still strong! I told Melissa we needed to get a jacket out of my Dam Nation drop bag, I was getting colder. Making our way into Park Road I was getting tired but would be getting a new pacer there, Gretchen. Off we go 4.4 miles to hit the 80 mile mark! This loop took around 6hrs

Loop 5, 80 miles in! Victory lap!

My body and mind was in truly uncharted waters at this point. I have never gone past 55 miles! Gretchen would stay with me on this loop until Nature Center, new pacer there. At Nature Center I picked up Russell, he would pace me back to Park Road, 12 miles away. There was going to be way more walking this 12 miles. Still had time in the bank, but could waste a lot of time or it could get bad, fast! Off we go, again we talked about, you name it! My calves started getting tight and my back in the lower right side in the kidney area start to hurt a little. As we made our way into Dam Nation, I told Russell I needed to sit down just a few minutes to rub out my calves. He refilled my bottle and then it was time to go. It was more like a death march, just 13 more miles to the finish line! 13 freaking miles! The longest 13 miles of my life! My back was really starting to hurt like I never hurt before, bad hurt! I was still able to walk a 14 minute mile, not bad after 87 miles! But I was hurting bad! When you leave out of Dam Nation, it's a 6 mile loop then you come back into it, then it's just over 3 miles to Park Road. Coming back into Dam Nation for the last time! I told Russell to refill my bottle that I was not stopping, if I stop I'm not sure I will be able to start. The sun was coming back up by now. With only a little over 7 miles to the finish line I had 6 hours to go 7 miles. Sounds so freaking easy, NOT! I was in bad shape. The body was starting to shut down! I was leaning to my right side at about a 45° angle! Having to stop every 100 feet to try and sit-up right, didn't help much. The tears started flowing. I was in pain that I wish on no one! 6 miles left, we got me a stick to help me walk. 5 miles left, it was taking me close to one hour to go one mile! This is when a runner passed us in a Zombie walk! Everything hurt like hell! I ask Russell what the cutoff time was at Park Road, didn't know if I was going to make it. A half freaking mile! And not sure if I could make it! About this time we see someone walking our way, Lesley! Lesley is one of my trail sisters. She would also be with me the last 4.4 miles if I live! As we made our way to her the pain on my right side was unreal! But Lesley would not hear any of it! Get your ass moving, she said! I'm trying, I'm trying, as the tears from the pain flowed more and more. Lesley also told me, Fawn said you will not stop unless you have a bone sticking out! At this point that would have to feel better! Fawn is a trail sister also, that was going to pace me the last 20 miles but thanks to the flu, she couldn't. I was upright coming into Park Road, 4.4 miles left! I told my crew I needed to sit down and I didn't give a flying &@$? what they said! An aid station worker ask me what's hurting, I told her my right lower back in the kidney area. She worked it over and told me to drink nothing but water the last 4.4 miles. Now here comes Lesley, get your ass up and lets get moving! Now just who could not love them kind of words after 95 miles! Off we go just 4.4 miles away from finishing my first 100 mile race! The longest 4.4 miles ever! I had just under 4 hours to go 4.4 miles, easy cake, right? I downed about 32oz of water just after leaving the aid station. Did it make me feel better, hell no, I hurt! But I told Lesley I'm going to try and run. And run I did! Later I learned from my Garmin data, my best pace time at mile 95 was an 8:17, an 8:17 pace after 95 freaking miles! That's badass! Now I can hear some crazy talking people coming up behind us. What the hell I'm thinking. BAM, it's Mike and Gretchen! I was needing all the support I could get at this point, so I was so glad to see them! Two last climbs then its somewhat flat. The first one is going to kill me I told them. Lesley told me whatever I do, don't stop or you will not get going up hill. BAM, topped that one! Time please. 2.5 hours left on the clock with 2 miles to go! It's looking good! But still anything could happen in them 2 miles! Lets be safe guys! The last hardest part left, going along the side of the lake. The angle of the trail in this area puts your body at a bad twisted. And after 98 miles, it's sucks! I told Mike to get in front of me and I was going to grab a shoulder and for him to go until I told him to slow down! By dam it worked awesome! I needed to stop and pee from all the water a just took in. As I was peeing they ask me what color it was, making sure there was no blood in it. I told them, can't tell, let me pee in one of your hands so you can look. No one let me. Half mile to the finish line with just under 2 hours left on the clock! I'm going to make it! I ask if we could stop and let me take a 30 minute nap, they didn't let me. 100 yards to the finish line! My crew was waiting. I told them to get my jacket off, there would be photos, I needed to look good! Yeah right 99.9 miles and like anyone looks good! I told them I wanted only Lesley to cross the finish line with me. Here I come finish line, ready or not! I crossed the finish line of my first 100 mile race in 28hrs 27mins 52sec! And who was there to give me my first buckle, Joe Prusaitis! I gave him the biggest hug and started crying like a baby! I did it, I freaking did it!

Thank You's
First and foremost, my wife and son! My wife, Joy is amazing to put up with all my talk about nothing but running at times. To the cost of my running. Thank you, I love you more then ever! My son, Colton who got me into running just 4 years ago! Not sure if I should say thanks or not, but I'm going with Thank You! I'm still waiting to run a marathon with you.

My crew/support group
Tammy, my amazing crew chief! Thank you more then you will ever know! Jim, thank you for sharing Tammy with me. Russell, thank you for not making to much fun of me when I was crying like a baby. Melissa, it was great doing your first true trail run with you. Gretchen, girl can you ever talk up a storm at 3am, loved it! Mike, my tow truck, thanks brother! Lesley, my trail sister, thank you for pushing me past my limits!

"To give your all, sometimes you have to give away all your control"

And I give all control to my team!

The rest of my small village that got me to the finish line, in random order Libby, Fawn, Suann, Martin, Jeremy, Kim, Tim, Michael, Liza, Maryann, Michael, I just know I forgot some. I'm so sorry if I did.

Gear: Shoes, Inov8 255, Socks, DryMax Trail, Lube, Hydropel, Tights, CWX, Garmin 310XT, Headlight, Black Diamond Storm, Race vest, Nathan Endurance, SaltStick, Nathan handheld bottle, 50 PowerBar Gels

Training: no more then 35 total miles a week. Longest run being 5 miles. Lets of stair repeats. Tire dragging with 30 pounds extra weight in tire.

Ok, make all the fun of me you want by the way I'm running. But guess what, I just ran 100 miles!

Tony Constanzo

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Palo Duro Canyon 50 Mile

Palo Duro Canyon 50mi

This is a 50 mile race with a 12 hour cutoff, four 12.5 loops with 5 aid stations.

This is the first race of this years race season. I signed up for this race thanks to some awesome running friends, y'all know who y'all are.

The weekend started on Thursday with a 10 hour drive to Canyon, TX., where I got a hotel room and one last good nights sleep.

Friday morning I was up and going early, at the park gate at 7:30am, they open at 8:00am. I was first in line of what ended up being about 10 cars!

After getting my campsite, I made my way into the park. WOW! This is the most awesome beautiful amazing parks I have even been to! No matter the outcome of the race, I was already winning just by getting to see this park!

Once camp was setup, it was time for a short nap. Around 4pm I made my way into town for packet/trail briefing/pasta dinner and to meet up with the awesome running friends that talked me into this race.

When I picked up my packet, it was a little upsetting to find out the shirt was a cotton not tech shirt! The pasta dinner was ok. The for the trail briefing. It started out ok and only got worse! After they did their talk it went to Q & A.

I had to ask if the 50 milers could have a pacer at some point being it was a 12 hour cutoff. Yes you can have a pacer on the last loop. Is there going to be gel at the aid stations I ask. Yeah, what's that stuff called, GU. No GU is a name brand, gel is the generic name. I'm sure Hammer Nutrition would like that being they are a sponsor!

After the Dog & Puppet show I made my way back to camp.

Once back at camp I made up my drop bag and premixed my water bottles with my gel and SaltSticks.

Bed time was around 9pm with a 5am wake up call, race start time 7am.

Race day!

The day started on the cool side, 43F knowing it would warm up, but not sure just how much.

I dropped my cooler a drop bag a Phil's aid station. This aid station is in the middle of the figure eight course.

I made my way to the start line feeling good about the day. Once there I met up with the group of friends. Only two of them was doing the 50 mile the others the 50k, smart people!

The first 30-45 mins would be run under a headlamp. This would put us at the first aid station just after sunup, just right to drop the light there.

The first 3 miles went real good, just trying to get warmed up and stay safe in the dark.

After dropping the light and topping off the water bottle, off I go.

About a mile out from the aid station a pack of coyotes that was maybe 100 feet from me in the tree line  went crazy! The pace did pick up a little!

As the sun made its way up over the canyon, the color on the canyon walls was amazing! This part of the course was out in the open, zero shade!

The first loop went real good with a 2hr 15min time, up by 45 mins.

The start of the second loop started to get warm, low 80's.

All was going good until mile 17. This is where the leg cramp monster from hell grabbed my left thigh and said stop! On hell no this is not happening! I dropped two SaltSticks and walked after maybe a half mile trying to walk it out. It seemed to help, but this part of the course was the toughest, so smart going it was. Only to have to get crazy bad over and over. As I made my way back to the start/finish I was thinking, it's I'd going to be a tough loop. But I was still up by 30 mins, only dropping 15 mins the second loop. Not bad dealing with this cramp. If I could just keep it up by dropping 15 mins the next two loops, that puts me right at 12hrs.

The start of the third loop was getting hot, mid 90's!

I grabbed a hand full of real food and off I went! It was starting to hurt real bad to run, or at the time what I called running. This is where all the power walking training came into play. I was able to walk fast then run, funny how it works at times! About half way into this loop the cramp monster came back with his friends and they came with baseball bats! They do not play fair! About 3/4 way through this loop I knew my race day was over. Even if I could make the fourth loop cutoff time, there would be no way I could make the 12 hour cutoff. I was ok with it, it's just a race in the end. There are lots more down the road. 

As I made my way to the finish line it was an amazing feeling to see and hear all the support. 

As I gave it my all running down to the finish line, I do think I was passed by someone using a walker! 

So at the end of the day, I put in 37.5 miles in 9hrs 33mins in the hardest race mile to date! I also found out that the high temp for the day was 105F to 108F depending on what part of the course you were on!

The 11hr drive home was just about as hard as the race!

Thank You to everyone that played a part in this race!

Would I do this race again, yes, but with a little more planning.

Now for a 6 day rest and back at it with Cactus Rose 50 mile this coming Saturday!

Tony Constanzo

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Crewing an Ultra

Crewing

Let me start by saying, as a runner I take full blame for every DNF, did my crew have a hand in them, yes maybe.

My first race that I had a crew at was RR100, 2012.

How did I go about picking my crew is where I made my biggest mistake. I picked friends that new me away from ultra running, big mistake.

A crew needs to now you as an ultra runner not just as a friend. Now in saying that, not all runners much less ultra runners make good crew members.

My crew chief is a high school track coach. What else could you want in a crew chief, running is their life. Will it's all good if they have the time to put in away from the track team.

One of my other crew members was an ultra runner with four 100 mile finishes along with being a 30 plus year friend. You would think someone with this background would be just the ticket you would want on your crew. One word can sum up the problem I had with them, EGO! Their ego was so big they would do the little things that helped derail my goal. From not being at crew aid station areas because they wanted to work some other aid station to not showing up until late afternoon after the race stated. 

Two of my other crew members were new to the ultra running world, their longest run being a 50k. Not that a 50k is a walk in the park. But they had no clue as to what I was going to feel at 50 miles much less just trying to make it to the finish line of a 100 miler. But for their lack of knowledge they both made up in giving all their heart and soul in doing whatever I ask them to do. Just a few days before I toed the line one of them, that was also one of my pacers was dealing with a knee injury. Without thinking twice the other stepped up to pace me even though they have never ran trails at night! To me I couldn't ask more from a crew member then to do this!

My last crew member was a good friend that is not a runner. Wow, it was like I was in training for a 5k having to go over running terms to how my gear worked. I'll say why I ask them to be a part of my crew. They are over weight by 250-300 pounds! I was hoping that being around a group of people who have worked so hard to get in shape, it would help inspire him to start changing his life. One more mistake I made by getting side tracked by wanting to help a friend when it was my day. You ask if it did anything to help get them started in changing his lifestyle, no, not at all.

Looking back, what will change. 

All crew members will have a running background. It would be nice for them to have an ultra running background. But as I learned, not all ultra runners make good crew members.

I will also have every crew member read, Death Valley Ultras: The Complete Crewing Guide. It may be written about crewing in Death Valley, but the info can be used for any ultra. If they don't want to read it, they want crew me. Race day is not the time or place to learn the little stuff!

My crew chief will not only know me away from running, but they will put in some long training miles with me. They need to know what I need way before I know I need it! Be it from changing socks and or shoes, to I need to eat or drink more or less.

My pacers will also put in long training miles with me. I need to know going into race day they can deal with just about anything they may take place in the middle of the night in the rain with a temp of 35F.

Race day is not the time to learn how the runners gear works or their wants and needs. 

As a runner the last thing you want to deal with is, drama, egos and cry babies.

What I love best about ultra running is the other runners. I feel when I toe the line, every runner there is part of my crew. Out on the trail they are willing to help out any runner make it to the finish line! Not sure of any other sport that can say that. 

In closing let me say, my biggest and best crew member is my family! They support me in this crazy sport. Put up with my long training days and my never-ending running stories.

Tony Constanzo

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Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile

Wow, here do I start?

 

The Rocky Raccoon 100 is ran at Huntsville State Park in the great State of Texas! It's a 5 lap, 20 mile course.

 

Race morning I woke up at 3am and remembered I forgot my bib and timing chip I my truck. I wasn't planning on getting up until 4am! So I got up and told one of my crew guys that I needed to go get them from the truck. But before I went out I took a look at the weather radar only to see a line of OMG weather coming at us!

We were under all kinds of warnings, tornado, flood & thunderstorm! So 4am came and it was time to start getting ready! After packing up in the hotel room we made or way down to the lobby only to see what looked like a hurricane going on outside! What a fun start to the day its going to be! Once at Huntsville State Park the weather was only get worse!

 

We must of got 4-5 inches of rain race morning and the lightning was crazy! But the race must go on and start time was 6am. So around 5:30 it was time to get the rain gear on and make my way to the start line! It was now time to, toe the line for my first 100 miler!

 

 

The race started on time and off we went! As we made our way off into the darkness the trail at this point wasn't all that bad. Little did we know what was waiting for us just a few miles down the trail! As the pack made its way over one of the small foot bridges we found that a tree had fallen across it over night. No big deal, just made our way over it. The first really bad trail area came at about mile 5 or so. It was maybe about 100 yards long and nothing but mud, this isn't good being we would pass this area twice ever lap! The rain was letting up a little by now and it was starting to get day light. All and all the first 20 miles went real good, I was staying true to my pace chart.

End of 20 miles

I dropped my rain gear and headlight off with my crew, told them that it was muddy in some areas but I feel good still.

And off I went for the next 20 miles feeling good. As I made my way back to the area that was so muddy earlier, it was getting real bad now, over ankle deep of mud! Once though all of that and making my way to the backside of the course, I found a pine tree across the trial that wasn't there on my first loop, and it was a big tree! Once again back around to the mud pit. The shoes are feeling like a 10 pound brick by now and I could feel some chafing going on down in the, boys area! So I text my crew and ask them to have my pink top BodyGlide and some Vaseline ready for me at the end of this loop. At the end of 40 miles I was still feeling good but know my goal time was out the door with all the mud.

End of 40 miles

 

Chafing sucks!

 

I was starting to feel a little tired at the end of 40 miles with all the mud out there but the mind was still 100% in the game! I picked up my headlight and jacket for the next 20 miles being it would be way dark before making it back in, off I go. Not to long after leaving on the 3 lap I had to stop and take off both socks and shoes to get all the mud  out! The feet were looking good still, no blisters! Socks and shoes back on and off I go. My pace at this time was slower then I was hoping for but still good. As I made my way back to the mud pit from hell, my left foot was not liking what I was doing to it. As I made my way to the backside of the course, my left foot was starting to get real pissed at me and I was now at a walk. It's crazy just how fast the wheel can start to feel like they are coming off to came off and ran over you!. I started to do the math as to the time cutoffs, did like what I was coming up with! But I was still in the game, not by much! So I was giving it all I could and burning up the trail at a 20min mile pace! I know that if I couldn't make 50 miles in 15 hours my game day was over. I had 3 miles to get to 50 and 1 hour to do it in! Should be easy being I did my first 50 mile race in 12 hours 30 mins. But I'm sure if you do the math you know what is going to happen to my game day, I made it to 50 miles at 15 hours 3 mins! I wanted to lay down and cry at this point. To be out in the woods all by yourself and have your game day come to an end, there are no words that can say the feelings that come over you. After I had a little talk with myself, I still had 10 more miles to the Park Road aid station before I told myself I would pull the plug. This was the hardest 10 miles I have ever done. Once I made it to the Park Road aid station I text my crew and ask them to met me there. And without even saying why, they new. When my crew got there I told them its over I'm pulling the plug, can"t make the 30hr cutoff. So I ended up dropping at mile 56. It wasn't what I wanted to do but it was the smart thing to do. There will be other 100 mile race to do, life does go on even after a DNF. I will be back next year for the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler you can count on that!

I would like to Thank my crew for all there hard work!

Tammy, Todd, Russell, Zach & John

I'm sorry guys for letting yall down!

After getting home and cleaned up I did find blisters on the bottom of my left foot and on the outside of it also from walking on it's side.

Until next time, stay safe out there!

Tony Constanzo

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