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Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile Ultramarathon Race Recap Part 3

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

This is the last installment of Sean Run Bum Blanton’s race recap of the Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile ultramarthon.  Will he make it?  Build up the suspense, start at the beginning with Part 1.

destin-beach-50-mile-ultramarathonWe passed some more race people checking our numbers and I saw one drinking a beer.  My eyes lit up.  I asked the guy if I could grab a beer.  He looked puzzled and laughed.  I told him I was serious and he tossed me an ice cold beer.  I chugged it.  Beer has never tasted so good.  I later motioned for a toss from some Frisbee players.  The guy overthrew me by 10 feet so I went into the ocean to retrieve it.  The ocean was like Andre 3000, ice cold.

The next aid station was at mile 36.  It was a restaurant that I was told we could order anything we wanted.  I had in my mind from the beginning of the race that I wanted oysters so I came into the aid station screaming, “Oysters, Oysters, I need half a dozen on the half shell!”  Apparently this wasn’t a normal request because the aid station workers were laughing at me and I had to go speak with the owner about my special order.  He said he’d have them ready when I came back around after the turn, at mile 42.

Those next 2 miles to the turn around point were tough.  I saw some ladies playing beach volleyball, baywatch style.  My jaw dropped and my head moved; then my whole body dropped.  I stepped in a hole that some kid had dug, probably attempting to reach China.  Splat.  Right in front of the girls.  Smooth.  I walked it off like nothing happened.  I made the turn, passed the girls again, and reached my oyster eating aid station.  I threw down the sweet ocean goodness in no time and took off for the final 8 miles.

I decided to cut all my food and just hammer water for the last 8 miles of the race.  I don’t recommend anyone else doing this, it’s a gamble.  With about 3 miles to go I saw a familiar face, my boy Wayne D, aka LIL WEEZY.  He was shouting, “Blanton, Blanton pick it up!”  He really got my spirits up and told me to try to catch the guy in front of me to finish 3rd.  At this point I was more concerned about conserving my body, I still had to run a road marathon in 16 hours!

I closed a mile gap into 400m gap with 800m left to go in the race, but decided to slow it down and ease into the finish, I was here to complete the race, not race it.  I moved off of the hard sand onto the soft sand to finish line where I was greeted with a sweet custom finishers medal.  Final time:  8 hours, 32 minutes in 4th place overall!

I pounded some food and treated myself to an amazing post race massage.  I now stood in the wake of determination.  Or rather the wake of 50 miles, 3 beers, 6 oysters on the half shell, and a whole heck of a lot of fun.  Sun kissed and forever changed.  Humbled, yet happy.  I had found one hell of a good time and I will definitely be back again for more fun in the sun, only next year I’m going to make sure I don’t forget my sunblock!

Now you’ve read about it, watch it.  The book is always better than the movie…

Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile Ultramarathon Race Recap Part 2

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

This is a continued race recap Sean Run Bum Blanton’s Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile ultramarthon:

Check our Part 1 if you missed it.

destin-beach-50k-ultramarathonWhen the sun was rising and pushing me forward I was at mile 10.  I was in about 13th or 14th place and all of a sudden a guy comes rocking past me going the other way.  I said, “Hey, great job man, keep it up!”  He had his head down and was in the zone.  Too far in the zone to respond.  As I grew closer to the turn around I saw more runners coming the other way.  My smile elicited high fives.  The bond you share with people on ultramarthons is almost as epic as the race itself.  It was like we were all in the same Platoon, fighting the same way, enduring the same hardships together.

At the turn around I could see the the high rise hotels at Destin Beach way away.  They looked close but I knew from earlier in the race, objects appear closer than they really are!  I thought it must be 15 or 20 miles away.  Then I thought for a second, no, it was exactly 25 miles away!  The exact distance I still had to run!  The sight made my stomach sink.  Like opening the mail box expecting to see your new iPod but instead you see a jury duty summons.

I was running the same 15 miles now I had just covered; however, everything looked different because it was daylight.  Running through Grayton Beach I encountered what appeared to be “THE RED TIDE.”  Thank god I thought.  Being the terrible fisherman that I am, the fish would to flock to me and boom, free sushi!  Well, not so much.  It was just where the swamp water cut its path through the dunes and sand as it makes its escape to the ocean.  Brackish water its called.  The mix of fresh and salt water.  See, you learn something everyday.  Frankly though, it looked like blood.  Like some one had stabbed the earth and she was bleeding.  There were about 5 of these along the course.  I saw other runners tip toeing and trying to not get their feet wet.  I pushed right through them, not breaking stride; not only was I too tired to expend energy running around them, but my neoprene socks were working like a charm!

As I was chowing down on some Chia Chargers around mile 25, a guy passed me running with his dog.  No way!  Well, I guess the dog does have 4 legs to run on.  It didn’t matter though, I went from walk to Chuck Norris speed in the blink of an eye.  That’s right, faster than you can say delta force!  I paced off this guy for about 2 miles before he turned around.  I guess he wasn’t part of the race…

Less than a mile away from the resort I could see the tents at the start/finish.  I hurdled a dead jellyfish and downed the last of my water.  I was in 5th place.  I had a huge smile on my face and said to the race director, “Man, this is a great race.  I love it!”  He laughed and said tell me that again in 20 miles.  I laughed and got a nice picture taken.  I took off but soon realized I had forgotten my drop bag of goodies.  Oops!  I lost about 2 minutes going back to get it.  But worse yet, I forgot to put on my sunblock!  If you’ve ever seen me before you know that I’m part albino, part Irish.

I took off screaming and running with new confidence.  I had finished 30 miles and I hadn’t even started to tap the tank.  People along the beach just looked on most likely wondering, “What the hell is this pale weirdo doing?  Oh, he must be drunk.  Oh well.  Honey, shield the kids’ eyes.”  The first 30 miles were secluded beaches, the last 20 miles I was face to face with people enjoying the beach.  If I wasn’t a run bum, I’d be a beach bum.  The next 8 miles would be spent running with some good buddies I met, the couple from Vermont, Serena Wilcox and Patrick, I believe….Read Part 3.

Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile Ultramarathon Race Recap Part 1

Monday, March 7th, 2011

This is an entry from my friend Sean who owns  He calls himself Run Bum because that’s what he does.  He travels the world, bumming lodging, food, and race entries in exotic locales.  His latest expedition took him to exotic Destin Beach, Florida to run the Destin 50 Beach Ultra.  Here’s what he had to say:

destin-50-beach-ultraAs a runner who loves to run as many races as I can and who loves adventure and new challenges, I stood under the full moon that reflected across the water onto the beach.  It was just moments before the Destin Beach 50 Mile Ultra Marathon and I was about to encounter a race like no other I had run before, 50 miles of sand.  The race had caught my eye months ago.  It sounded like hell, and it sounded like something I wanted to be a part of.  That’s what being a Run Bum is all about, I find delight in the unknown.  Where my comfort zone ends is where I have found the most joy in my life.

My game plan for this race was to run a smart race and really save myself for the marathon I was going to run the next day.  I also put on some neoprene socks, no telling what running in the sand for 50 miles would do.  I also knew that I wanted to run close to the water where the sand was the hardest.  Another fear was the extreme slant of the beach.  The beach we were running on has about 50 feet of soft sand and then hits a big slope down to the waters edge for any where from 2-8 feet depending on the tide.

It was 5 am when the race started.  Surrounded by darkness that was illuminated by the moon, I started running.  I started my easy jog and then walk from the get go.  I knew I wasn’t in shape to run 50 miles non stop that day.  I didn’t have to use my headlamp because the moon was so bright.  About 20 people took off in front of me and another 20 behind me.  I was amazed by the sheer beautify of the race.  Here’s what my camera captured that morning:

I was surrounded by ocean and sand; massive dunes lined the shore, not houses. I would run toward scattering crabs, shine my light toward movement just a couple of feet ahead to see a group of birds scatter out of the ocean. It was like an explosion of nature. I was running directly at the sunrise, but the moon was still shinning bright enough to give you a sunburn. It was almost like they were competing, but we all knew the sun would eventually win this battle.  The air was a perfect temperature, 60 degrees with a light breeze. The air had a hint of ocean saltiness. It was the prefect moment to be running…Read Part 2!

18th Annual Running the Blues 5K Run & 2.5K Walk

Friday, March 27th, 2009

running-the-blues-5k1It’s time again for the 18th Annual Running the Blues 5K Run & 2.5K Walk in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  The event is being held on April 4th at 9:00 am this year and coincides with the Springing the Blues festival weekend, as per usual.  This isn’t your normal 5k race mainly because the whole course is on the nice, flat (as opposed to a hilly) beach.  I recommend running barefoot.  Even though the tide will be down, there is no promise that you won’t be running into the wind so watch where you are spitting.  If you aren’t extreme enough to run the 5k on the soft sand then you can still enjoy the beauty of the beach and participate in the 2.5K walk on the beach.  I did some research on and found that “walks on the beach” was an activity that 96% of singles enjoy.  So if you’re not a runner, at least consider impressing the opposite sex by walking on the beach.  You’re so sensitive and I dig that about you.  You need to register for this race TODAY by sending a mail in entry postmarked by the 28th or registering online before April 1st for the price of 17 dollars.  Everyone knows that’s a steal for a cool 5k like this.  The T-shirt alone probably costs that much.  Also there is race day registration available but then the price goes up to 20 dollars.  It’s a bad economy, go ahead and register now and use that 3 dollars to get yourself a McDonald’s Value Meal after the race.  You earned it, you just ran 3.1 miles!  Or walked 2.5K, still something to eat a Big Mac about.

The event is hosted by Performance MutliSports Event Planning and Production which is a really cool organization.  Performance MultiSports organizes a variety of races and promotes healthy recreational opportunities in NE Florida. Performance provides athletes of many sports a way to meet, train, and socialize together, while giving back to the community, as it produces sports events for a variety of other non-profit organizations.  They put on all kind of races like adventure, running, bicycling, triathlon, duathlon, kayak, and multisport events all over Florida.  We all know that running is the best sport you can participate in, but it’s great to get out and challenge yourself with some new activities and races.  You have to keep challenging yourself if you want to truly be extreme.  I’m thinking about doing a kayak race.  How cool would that be?  Pretty cool.  You can check out their event calendar to see all the different events you can participate in.  There’s also a plethora of links available on their website if you want to learn more about these different activities. However, don’t click on the Running link, it may give your computer the flu or some other sickness.  They have bicycling resources available too but not necessarily mountain biking, but you already know where to go for that. You’re so renaissance and I like how your resume reflects that.  You’re hired!…to run the 18th Annual Running the Blues 5k Run & 2.5K Walk.

You don’t live in Florida?  I don’t care, this 5k is a destination race for sure because it goes along with the Springing the Blues festival which is a free, three-day, ocean front concert.  Run a 5k on the ocean in the morning, then chill out with a free oceanfront Blues festival the rest of the day.  Sounds like the perfect vacation for this economy!  Some of the performers include Regi Blue, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin Malcolm, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band and many more.  I honestly don’t know much about the Blues but Downbeat magazine rated this festival as one of the top 50 Music Festivals and Southeast Tourism Society named it one of the top 20 destination events.  See, it’s official, the Running the Blues 5k Run & 2.5K Walk is a destination event.  Make it you’re cheap vacation destination!  Where else would you go in Florida anyways?

No where other than Jacksonville Beach.  Go ahead and take your shoes off and relax…after running 3.1 miles of course…with our without shoes.  Don’t you want to earn all the beer you’ll consume watching blues all day afterward?  Beer that you earn tastes almost as good as free beer!  Almost.