Sharing our love of running, fitness, food, family and the beauty of Western North Carolina...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bart Bar Recipe

The recipe we have created has gone through many stages of experimentation, trial and error, delight and scorn, soggy and dry, ranging from disaster to perfection.  Bart-Bars consist of  natural ingredients that are tasty and provide high energy.

This recipe will make 32 - 1 1/2" x 2" Bart Bars.
Each Bart Bar will contain approximately
20 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 70 g sodium, 300 calories

When we use these on our runs, we cut one bar into 4 equal pieces, and eat one piece every 60 - 90 minutes (We call them Bart Bar Bites).

Here is the recipe, and the way we make it...

4 Cups Quaker Old Fashion Oats (NOT instant oats)
4 heaping tablespoons Nestles Cocoa
6 teaspoons Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte Powder
2 Cups NutriBiotic Rice Protein Vanilla
1 Cup Pecan pieces
1 Cup chopped Almonds
2 1/2 Cups raw Honey
2- 12 oz jars of MaraNatha, no stir, Almond Butter (we use MaraNatha because it has sufficient oil content making it much easier to work with. Other almond butter brands we've used in the past are drier and required the addition of olive oil)

Place the JARS of honey and almond butter (make sure the lids are loosened sightly) in a large pot with water. Bring water slowly to a boil. Just when it starts to boil, remove pot from heat and let stand.  We heat the honey and almond butter, so it makes mixing with the dry ingredients easier.

Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set to the side.

Place the heated honey and almond butter in a mixing bowl (be careful, jars will be hot) followed by the dry ingredients.

Mix slightly by hand prior to using the electric mixer.  

Note: your mix will be darker compared to the images below. They were taken before we started using cocoa.

Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. We use a Kitchen-Aid mixer with the dough hook attachment.

Place the mixture in a slightly olive oil coated 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish and firmly press the mixture into place. To press in place, I first use a large serving spoon, followed by a large stainless steel spatula.

Refrigerate until cool than cut into desired size squares.  Keep Bart-Bars stored in the refrigerator.

Rooster Cogburn donning his mustache for Movember

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thought for the Day

"Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own"
- Robert Heinlen

Photo by Paul Christopher
Taken before the start of the Paris Mountain Ultra 50 Miler

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Paris Mountain Ultra 50 Miler

"Because I like to run" - Ian Torrence

It was several years ago when Eve and I were still living in Las Vegas, Nevada that the local newspaper conducted an interview with running legend Ian Torrence, who at that time also called Sin City his home.  The reporter asked Ian why he ran 50 and 100 mile races.  Ian, in one brief sentence said it for all of us who love long distance running, “Because I like to run.”

My decision to run a 50 mile race was really not so much a decision, as it was a process.  A process borne of 15 plus marathons, several 50 k’s and moving to one of the most beautiful areas in the world to reside and run trails.  Asheville and the surrounding area provide enough scenery and trails to feed the rat gnawing inside in any trail runner.  The final motivational push came when we assisted our friend Paul Christopher’s 50 mile run in celebration of his 50th birthday this past summer.  I was hooked and committed.

The event I entered initially was the Table Rock Ultra 50 that took place this past October.  My training had gone very well with a myriad of 20 mile runs and a couple of solid 30 milers.  I felt ready, physically and mentally, and had my nutrition and hydration dialed in to a point where I felt I could deal with any quirk my body might throw at me on a given day.  Unfortunately, a standard medical procedure that Eve had performed a few days prior, caused a blood clot to form in her upper arm.  Even though she was begging me to go ahead and compete, there was no way on God’s green earth I was going to leave her home alone under those circumstances.  The decision was a no-brainer; I  stayed home and watched out for my best friend.

As Eve began feeling better, we started to look around for another 50 mile event.  We didn’t have to look far; just down the road from us the inaugural Paris Mountain Ultra 50 mile race was scheduled a mere 3 weeks away on November 8, 2014 at Paris Mountain State Park located in the hills just north of Greenville, South Carolina.  After the prior taper in anticipation of the aborted Table Rock event, I believed I could put in one solid week on fresh legs and go into a 2 week taper and be ready for race day.  The hard week worked out nicely with a 69 year old Bartman version of a back to back long run of 30 miles on day 1, a rest day on day 2, then 15 miles on day 3.  I believe this combination worked nicely for me.  On day 3, I was still on tired legs from the 30 miler, while minimizing the chance of injury by having an extra 24 hours to recoup before the 15 mile run.  I kept moving every day during the taper with at least a 3 mile “wog” (walk/jog) with Shadow each day, and a couple of easy mid-length runs of 2 hours, both while scouting out the race course at Paris Mountain State Park.  If I felt tired or the legs felt heavy, I just walked.  The rest of the time was devoted to core routines and getting mentally prepared.

photo by Paul Christopher

Race day weather was perfect; cool 34 degree morning temperature, clear blue sky and NO wind.  Eve was my Crew Captain, and our good friend Paul Christopher teamed up to share the day with us and to provide any assistance I needed  as the day wore on.

race start

I started off very easy and then tried to ease off another notch as I gradually warmed up during the first of the seven laps of the 7.8 mile course.  After approximately 2.5 rolling and gradually climbing miles, I began the steepest climb up to and beyond Mountain Lake.  This climb is about a 1 mile long and gains at least 800 feet according to our Garmin.  For the most part, the climb is not bad, while there are sections that I would describe as “fugly”, the hill would be the undoing of more than a few runners as the repeated pounding took its toll.  In fact by the time I topped out on the third lap, the overall body experience reminded me somewhat of the feeling your quads have about halfway through a 10,000m race on ice skates.

At the completion of the first lap, Eve was on the spot and ready to take care of me while she asked questions about how I felt and what I needed.  As I watched her top off my water bottle it became glaring obvious I had not downed near the amount of water I should have during the first loop, plus looking at my watch it appeared, in spite of my best efforts to keep the pace down, I had arrived way ahead of schedule.  Paul snapped some picture’s and Eve had me on my way in less than 3 minutes.  So off I went after discarding my Houdini jacket as the temperatures slowly began to rise.

photo by Chris Reece-Young

The second lap rolled along quite nicely as I made conscience efforts to remind myself to drink in small doses but to keep the water going down along with EFS shots, S-Caps and a BartBar bite once every hour.  Think “IV drip”, I reminded myself.   Somewhere along the downhill on the inward bound portion of the course where a runner should be celebrating, the bottom was falling out of my world. I was stumbling and tripping over every damn rock and root that hadn’t been there the first time around. They were obviously waking up and poking their pointy heads a little higher with each step.  I never fell or went down, but the constant stumbling was becoming at the very least annoying and discerning.  Plus, by the time I had performed my second or third arm-leg-windmill-falling-from-the-fifth floor-window imitation, I wasn’t feeling all that chipper.  Nice, only 40 miles to go, and I was feeling like sauteed ass of goat.   I knew I had to focus and keep my nutrition going and not panic.  I went to my basic ChiRunning focuses; posture, lean and lift the limp lower legs; posture, posture, posture, lift gently but lift.  I said to myself, “Self, keep your feet under you and lift, barely hit the ground”, and Self said, “hey, I’m busy drinking and dropping an S-Cap!”  And I said, “Well Self, that’s better than dropping an f-bomb!”  The ChiRunning focuses got me out of a nasty down turn technically, but the body was still not real happy.

Paul and Bart making their way around Lake Placid

Paul joined me for lap three.  Eve got me in and out of our aid station quickly, and I dropped off my long sleeve shirt.  From this point on, the temperatures seemed to remain steady and cool.  This was a perfect day for running, and I was soldiering on waiting for the light to come back on indicating that I was out of this funk I was in.  Paul was a great pacer and an excellent trail companion.  I wasn’t much in the talking mood, and he knew it, so his comments were brief and to the point; “drink!”, “have you had a swig of gel lately?”, “here, try this” while offering me something he had in his bottle.  Paul knew I was laboring and was being as positive and upbeat as possible.  We made it up “fugly hill” and started down the inward bound portion of the course, all the while I am thinking, “Man, this is where this yuckiness started a lap ago!” As we drew near the end of lap 3, we came up the approach road leading to the start and finish area when I saw a couple sitting next to the road throw up their arms and yell, “Here’s who we’ve been waiting for!”  I am thinking “Oh no, I’m hallucinating! Wait a minute, Chris? Amber? Is that you?”  Sure enough our friends Chris and Amber Reece-Young had driven down from Asheville to see how I was doing.  Wow, what an uplift this was and perfect timing!  I was feeling like crap and this got my mind completely off my misery.  Chris and Amber are both great running friends and Amber has a running resume of national titles and USA team representations that would fill a hard drive.  We walked up to the timing stand for my check in and then on to our aid station as Eve cheered me in and got me ready.  Her first comment was, “you look really pale”.  And of course, trying not to alarm her, I lied and said, “Oh, I feel GREAT!”  If bullshit could set potatoes, I would have sown 10 acres worth on that one statement alone.  But Eve wasn’t having any of it, and Paul was backing her up, “Yeah, I noticed that too!”  She sat me down in a chair and started going through her mental check list  “Are you drinking? Gimme your bottle.  How’s your tummy? Feeling like crap aren’t you! Aren’t you? Ok, drink some coke, a full caffeinated GU and two Motrin”.  Of course I protest, “No, no vitamin I.  I’m not that done!”  Paul said, “it’ll be good for you. It won’t hurt, and it best to be proactive”. Down everything went and literally, within seconds, I could feel myself finally turning the corner on this malaise.  I said my goodbyes to Chris and Amber as they were heading to the zoo in Greenville (I thought they had already seen enough “animals” for one day).  Paul stayed behind to get himself ready to do lap 5 with me.  I gave Eve a kiss, and I walked up the road heading into lap 4.  22 miles down and only 28 to go.

Bart, Amber, Chris, and Paul

The fourth loop is where I really started to come around.  I took it easy to let everything settle in my stomach, so by the time I hit “fugly hill” for round four, I was hitting my pace and stride again.  I passed two runners on the way up and offered encouragement to them both in passing.  The one runner was obviously suffering badly and made a low guttural moaning sound in recognition of my salutations.  The sweat was streaming off of him.  This guy was a trooper, as he was valiantly carrying on hours later when I lapped him.  Some people just humble you with their determination, and he was one of them. It was however, during lap four that my feet began to seriously brother me as my little toes were being jammed into the side of my shoes as my feet swelled.  The shoes were plenty big, almost a full inch longer than my big toe, but there was simply not room enough in the width of my Hoka Stinsons for my feet to expand, and it was getting more painful with every step.  Self said, “Gotta fix this at the next stop.”  Overall, lap four wound up being one of my best and set the stage for the remainder of the day and eventually into the night….and onto the unknown that one no one could have possibly imagined.

photo by Paul Christopher

As I completed lap 4 and went through the check-in, Eve was cheering and waiting for me with a coke in hand.  I was sipping the cola as Eve prepared a peanut butter and apple sauce sandwich.  Down went the GU with 40g of caffeine along with another two doses of Vitamin I.  I told Eve about my sore toes and how they were killing me.  So off came the Hoka’s and on went the Altra Olympus which fortunately I threw into the van at the last minute before leaving the house that morning.  As soon as I stood up in the Olympus, my feet felt like they had ascended to “pedes Nirvana”; absolutely heavenly. With better than 30 miles now in the books, I was definitely feeling it, but on the other hand, this was the best I had felt all day, and Eve could see it in my eyes.  She told me, with all the confidence of a Christian with four aces, “You’ve got this nailed!” Paul was ready to go, and we set off up the road to start lap 5 as I munched the remainder of a BartBar bite as Eve’s words echoed in my ears, “You’ve got this nailed!” I was a new man on a mission.

Paul and Bart heading out for lap 5

Lap 5 with Paul was flat out fun.  Paul and I reminisced, solved world problems, told jokes, farted, swapped more stories and farted some more.  “Fugly Hill” and Mountain Lake came and went one step at a time and soon it was behind us.  It seemed as if the 7.8 miles were over before they began all the while I was thinking, “This is where I want to be, this is what all the training was about, this is what I wanted out of this more than anything; to be able to run, hike, walk, jog and move all day, from sun up and into the night, watching and feeling the earth move by under my feet and be at one with the entire experience with loved ones at your back when the bad times are trying to stare you down.”  I was alive and loving it.

As darkness approached we eventually found ourselves jogging up the hill to the check-in and Eve was at the van with everything ready for me.  Paul pulled his sweats on and began getting ready to head home.  He knew I had these last 15 miles in the bag.  We went through what had become the normal aid station routine along with pulling on a long sleeve top and donning our head lamps (plus a chest lamp for me) as Eve prepared to do the loop around Lake Placid with me that would complete the first mile of the course.  She wanted to get her feet under her in the dark in preparation for doing the final full lap with me as we had planned from the get go. We said our good byes to Paul and thanked him for his all day support and capturing a good part of the day with pictures sent to friends on Facebook telling about my progress.  Paul was a crew member, pacer, adviser, and communications field correspondent.

Photo by Paul Christopher

As Eve and I set off on lap 6, Eve was bubbling with excitement.  She told me repeatedly how proud she was of me and how everything was coming together like a dream.  On my part I could feel emotions welling inside of me for all her support and encouragement throughout the summer in spite of her own setbacks and health issue she had dealt with.  I cannot imagine a better friend, running companion, crew captain, wife, and sweetheart than Eve. It was the anticipation of running the final lap together with her that gave lap 6 such incentive.  It was almost all I thought about.  We parted at the bridge leading back to the camp, and I headed on up the trail into a pitch black forest.  Not far up the way two runners came bounding out of the dark screaming “flip your light!” I turned my head to the side as quick as could to avoid blinding them, but I could not help but think “what the hell is wrong with you?”  They are screaming and yelling at me because I had enough sense to put a head lamp on and they didn't!  Weird.

There is a special magic to running and moving through the forest or mountains at night.  I did it many times in Norway when cross country skiing during the long dark winter nights.  Once your eyes adjust, it is amazing how much light there is in sky.  Everything is more quiet, approaching almost complete silence, which in turn magnifies the sounds that are always there.  As I made my way up “Fugly Hill”, the creek below seemed to flow with more intensity, louder than I could remember from anytime during the day.  The flutter of wings of a bird I spooked, and the sight of it disappearing into the night added to the magic.  The distant head lamps of other runners on the course gave even a further feeling of being connected to something somewhat invisible and yet very real.   I was no longer merely experiencing the environment, I was soaking it up and inhaling it through every pore in my body. The so-called “runner’s high” doesn’t even begin to approach what I was moving through.  I could hardly wait to share this with Eve on the final lap together.

I passed one other runner at the top of the course who I discovered I was actually lapping.  I wished her well and assured her, we are going to put this one away in not too many hours.  Lap 6 went by uneventfully. I was settled into a pace and rhythm I had been honing for hours, and now I was locked in.  I truly felt as if I could do 6 more laps instead of merely the one remaining.  As I made my way up the hill to the timers for the next to last check-in, I could see Eve standing just in front of the timers with her head lamp on peering into the darkness, and she called out, “Bart! Is that you?”  I could sense some anxiety in her voice, so I assured her it was me, and I was feeling great.  As I came up alongside of her she said, “There’s a problem.  The Park Ranger was just here, visible agitated and raising his voice at Matt (Race Director) like an idiot saying he didn’t see anyone running, and it just looked like we were all here hanging out and eating. He said everyone has to clean up and clear out of here within the next hour.  If we don’t, the Park Ranger said he is locking the gate, and we will be locked in the park for the night!  That Park Ranger scared me Bart. It seemed like he was trying to start a fight with Matt instead of trying to resolve some misunderstanding.  When the Park Ranger drove away he punched the throttle and made the tires bark like a teenager trying to impress his girlfriend.  The Park Ranger scared the daylights out of me!”   Well I thought, so much for the behavior of a public servant; a brilliant display of ignorance and stupidity coupled with authority; bad combination.  Fortunately, Matt Hammersmith remained calm and tried to explain the agreement the event had with the Head Park Ranger.  Unfortunately, the Head Ranger was on vacation or unavailable, and we were left with a Gestapo flexing his authority and ignorance.  Matt explained to us that we could carry on and complete the final lap if we wanted to, but he couldn’t guarantee what would happen with the park ranger, we would be on own and should probably park our van outside of the State Park in order to make sure we did not get locked in for the night.  We both felt terrible for Matt, he had worked hard to put together an excellent event that everyone was thoroughly enjoying, accept of course Feldmarschall Gestapo Ranger.  Eve and I decided it was best to bag it and go home.  Personally I wasn’t going to let a halfwit Park Ranger  ruin our day; it had been too perfect and too good.  I was still on a high, and I wasn’t ready to come off it by having it ruined by The Rogue Ranger.   We packed up our stuff as I downed a bottle of Ultragen then we drove out of Paris Mountain State Park and headed back to Asheville.

But hold on folks the story doesn’t end there quite yet, and it’s about to become rated R for language…

We were not 2 miles down the road when Eve exploded, “Gawdamit we’re not letting some fucking half-ass bullshit Park Ranger ruin your day.  Come hell or high water we’re going home and finishing this thing.  You’re doing your 50 miles, and we are finishing it together just like we planned! Fuck that son-of-a-bitch!”  Golly, I couldn’t argue with that, made sense to me.   So, that’s exactly what we did.  One hour later, we were home and back out the door.  With our Garmin in hand, we ran a big loop around and about our neighborhood until we finished up the Paris Mountain Ultra 50 in 14 hours and 4 minutes.  It was amazing to me that after sitting in the van for the one hour drive home, I thought my legs would seize up for sure.  Not the case, within 10 minutes after hitting the road, the legs were clicking again and knocking off the miles.  This was the icing on the cake, the final lap, the final miles were the celebration we wanted to enjoy together.  With the distance completed, Eve snapped a picture of me and sent it off to Matt Hammersmith who assured her that my time would be included in the final results.  Matt was true to his word, and that’s the way the Bartman’s first 50 miler is officially recorded.

just completed the Paris Mountain 50 mile in South Asheville!

When you turn a corner in life and notch a milestone on your belt it gives you ample reason to reflect and ponder all the things you have to be thankful for.

Thanks to all of you that encouraged and supported me both before and during this event.

Thanks Paul Christopher, you are the greatest! Your experience and advice and freely giving of your time on a beautiful Saturday were invaluable to me and Eve.

Chris and Amber Reece-Young, that was perfect timing to show up when you did.  You helped pull me out of a mental bottomless hole.

Danny Dryer, maybe you weren’t there physically, but without your ChiRunning instruction and teaching, I wonder if I would be running today.  In any case, what you’re about was with me every step of the way.

Seth Fibraio, Cornerstone Physical Therapy, when I walked into your office three years ago, I could hardly walk because of a herniated disc. Thanks to your guidance, counseling and working your magic on me, I am running…….a lot.

Thanks to Aaron Saft, Scott Sochia and the Foot Rx staff, it’s only store I have ever been in that feels like a second home ………sometimes.

Thanks to Mark Lundblad for taking time to spell out what I had to do to run 50 miles or more.  The letter you sent me two years ago about what has to be done is in a plastic sleeve in a book I have for special things that have lasting value.

Finally, my crew captain: I am so thankful for Eve that words cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for her love and devotion.  Eve wrote this note that is laying next to the laptop as I am writing this,
“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own”
– Robert Heinlen
I know that’s the way I feel about her, if she’s not happy, then I am miserable.  So we laugh together, celebrate, run, walk, hike, hold hands, pray, and sometimes we even cry together.  Most of all we are growing and experiencing life together, and I pray that we will experience eternity together.

In the meantime, when’s the next 50?

Start, finish, hang out hub for crews, relay runners, and familes

Warm fire and soup to take the chill off 


grilled potatoes and some unidentifiable meat

aide station

Shadow waiting patiently in one of our sleeping bags

Bart's personal support vehicle