Friday, September 12, 2008

A little background

To some of you, this story will be new. Other of you have heard parts or all of it already, but I am sending it out as an update on the goings-on in Carl’s life.

At the end of June, I turned in my 2 weeks notice at Hamilton Automation in Greenville, SC. I decided that what I did next would follow whatever path presented itself, but that I would add structure to my time off by signing up for a 100 mile road race in Oklahoma in November, and training hard for it. The race is called the Mother Road 100 and it’s held on the historic old roadbed of route 66.
After completing my employment I headed west to Tennessee with a video camera and took 14+ hours of videotape at the Last Annual Volunteer State Road Race. Over 8 days I drove back and forth, interviewing runners before, during, and after the race. I even ended up crewing for the winner (he supplanted me as “King of the Roads”) for the last 48 hours of his run. Kevin finished the 500km run in 4 days 23 hours and 45 minutes. Quite an accomplishment. It was hot.
My intention is to put the footage together into a low budget documentary….the kind of thing your parents and close friends will watch, and fake enthusiasm. But I also hope that people interested in doing the race will watch it, enjoy it and learn from it. There are people out there for whom a run like this is very appealing, and if they hear about it and enjoy the documentary we may go from the 3 entries we had a few years ago to the 6 we had last year to the 8 we had this year to the 30 we might get in years to come! It’s an exciting thought, to me.
So after taking all the video, I returned to Greenville and cleaned out my apartment and put all my belongings into a 5’X5’ storage unit. Then I headed west again. I stayed with Gary Cantrell, the race director of the Tennessee run for a long weekend and we watched most of the footage, coming up with ideas for the movie, and enjoying talking about the experiences from the road.
On August 4th I got in the van with James Rudd, and we drove from Nashville to Boise, ID. We ended up with my friends Will and Diane, who just moved here for Will’s teaching job at Boise State University. They generously offered me a place to stay while I cleared my head, worked on the video, and trained for the Mother Road 100.
When I arrived here, the Olympics were just about to start, and since I was feeling pretty down about the circumstances of my leaving Greenville, I basically lived on the couch watching the Olympics and sleeping for 18 hours a day. I managed to maintain enthusiasm for the running, since I had promised myself that I would train well for the big race and justify my time away from the working world, but that was the only structure I had to my day. Will and Diane (and my family) were very supportive, but I think they realized that time might be the only thing to get me back to being myself.
Anyhow, after the Olympics I spent another couple days feeling unmotivated and sorry for myself, before I decided that I needed to have an adventure. I thought about running across Montana, or riding my bicycle back to Georgia, but I didn’t think I had the mental fortitude for the run, or the desire to return to Georgia yet. So the next morning (August 25th) I went and got maps of Montana, Idaho, Oregon. Then I went to the bike shop and got a couple saddle bags. I decided I would ride to the Pacific Ocean. Google maps called it an even 502 miles to the pacific from where I sat, and that sounded like a good number. I figured surely I could do 100 miles a day, and finish in 10 days.

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