Don Winkley – Across The Years – 2007

Posted on the Ultralist:

Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 11:52:04 -0500
From: Don Winkley
Subject: Across the Years story long ultra content?

A long story Ultra content?

Delorean Goes to Phoenix

Yes it was that time of year again. The Across the Years run in Phoenix. The race begins before the new year and ends Jan 1 of the following year hence Across the Years. I have now attended the race seven times celebrating the coming of the new year on the track drinking champaign and watching fireworks. It is a multiday race offering various formats and over the years I have entered the 6day, 72hr and 48hr races.

The early races were organized by Paul Bonnet and were really family.Entry fees were low with no barriers to entry. I remember loading the van and when I was about to exit the driveway I would warn Paul that I was coming. Now it is a professionally done race that is sold out early. Somehow the family feeling still exists even with a greatly expanded family.

My race results were never anything to speak of. My usual millage was about 100 kilometers per day. Evenings were always very cold and I used the evenings to get caught up on my sleep. After 6 appearances I finally earned my 1000 mile jacket last year – 1000 being the total of my millage over the years.

This year – I questioned up to the very last minute – should I go or should I give my place to someone more deserving. A hamstring pull had manifested itself as a pain in the butt and was giving me fits. As usual I had raced every weekend – only to have the injury reduce me to walking -but after a couple walking days I was ready to race again the next weekend only to get reinjured. Finally the body seemed to tire of this game and had simply reduced me to walking – period.

The Delorean needed a workout and I really enjoyed driving it to the race last year. The highlight of last years race was pictures of my Delorean in front of Nardini Manor. Roger Wrublik , host, owner of Nardini Manor, timer, philanthropist, workaholic had given me permission to drive the Delorean over the front lawn so I could take pictures of the Delorean between the two big lions on pedestals guarding the manor entrance. So the Delorean made the decision for me.

Actually the Delorean and Nardini Manor were inseparably linked from the very beginning. When I first considered purchasing my Delorean I pictured the Delorean parked between the lions in front of the Manor. It was kind of like a double dream – owning the car and visualizing the picture. I am not alone – somehow Delorean owners love to take pictures of their cars with spectacular backdrops. After the race I had planed to get a picture of the Delorean overlooking the Grand Canyon. But it was much too cold so this picture will have to remain in my mind at least for another year.

The drive – all 1100 miles of it – along route 10 was wonderful. So many memories of this drive. On three occasions the Corpus Christi to LA drive was undertaken to begin races across America. So with the beauty of Texas hill country, then the plateaus of west Texas and finally blending into the mountains of the New Mexico and Arizona the Delorean and I were transfixed.

I arrived a day early to do the last minute preparations for the race. Foot care is really important, I taped each toe using the method learned from Don Choy at Gibson Ranch so many years ago. For shoes I used a broken in pair of Fila Corsa Otto’s which seem to have been built on a last modeled for my bunion laden feet.

For drink I mixed up some dextrose (i.e. glucose) powder brand Body Fortress high performance creatine fruit punch drink mix. Being a chemist – at least years ago – I mixed in a variety of pharmaceutical grade ammino acids. I dissolved the powder mix in Powerade low calorie grape drink. To my surprise this actually tasted good and didn’t trigger an immediate barf reaction. So with a supply of energy drink, and 12 packs of diet soda cans I was ready.

I took 5 cranberry pills and three l-arginine pills each 6 hrs. I placed the pills in small plastic bags for immediate access.

For night I had medium weight tights, a long sleeve shirt (a strange microfiber material which was extremely smooth and silky), two hooded sweat shirts from prior Across the Years races, a red woolen cap, gloves inside mittens, chemical hand warmer, and finally for the first time I was actually comfortable at night. To avoid groin chaffing – very soft cotton / algodon underwear bikini cut briefs proved to be a great choice.

Time to run; well I actually promised myself I wouldn’t run. Millage was out as a goal so I concentrated on staying on the track at night. My goal was to walk 48 hrs without any sleep breaks. Another goal was to avoid alcohol until the New Years eve celebration with champagne.

As much as possible I walked with fellow runners telling the same stories over and over Across the Years. Was reminded of the Bobby Wise across Washington state story and the rest of the story of Ray Krolevicz in the sleeping pod during the first 6 day race in NY. Many stories go back so far that there are few who know or care of these stories. Ron Vertree’s was the primary victim as we walked many miles together. Strange how the legs didn’t hurt when my mouth was running. Poor Ron!

My 48 hr without sleep goal was in sight but at 46 hrs it became almost impossible to stay awake so I took a 15-20 min nap. Additionally there were two 20 min breaks during the race for sock change and stone removal.
Next time I need to add the velcro to my shoes the night before so I can wear gaiters.

The taping, sock, shoe choice resulted in no blisters. The French antirubishing cream, hydrocortisone, baby wipes, sun cream, etc. worked to perfection. No chafing anywhere proving the lucky choice of microfiber shirt and underwear briefs.

The decision to have my own drinks was also a winner. My concoction for energy drink provided most of the calories needed. Having a variety of diet sodas cold in cans with full fizz -well diet pepsi max never tasted better. Being able to avoid the aid table as much as possible probably added 5 miles per day.

Final milage was 124 miles – only 10 miles less than prior years when I ran? Emerged from the race a little tired, well it might be expected. Hip escaped no better or worse.

The Delorean made the round trip but it was a cold ride. Need to work on the heater.

Thanks everyone, Roger, fellow runners and especially volunteers. You made my new years special!!!

PS Haven’t run a step yet and the Houston marathon is this weekend Jan 12th. My decision the race walk or run Houston will be made at the start line. Hope to see you at the races. The home of multiday running news and events.

1 Comment

  1. Donnie Boy,

    Sounds like a good time! Miss running with you. I did the “Dan Man” off-road in 6:00 flat. Warrior training, indeed!


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