Category Archives: 50 Miler at Run Rabbit Run 2016

RRR 2016 with Bear and Rabbit

When I saw Fishhook Lake there through the woods, I was beyond wasted–I was ready to give up on this 50 miler. Problem is, I was at of the most remote points of the run, so to quit just meant I had to get my self out.

And I was NOT going to quit anyway.

It was at about mile 35. I ached, I was breathing hard even when I walked, and that little voice in my brain was muttering “you idiot” or some such satanic drivel.

And as I stumbled up to the little stream with the lake is full view, there he was.

John Maxwell taught us years ago, “You never know when the next person you meet is going to change your life forever”.

And once again it happens.

This guy is standing there on the rocks by the lake taking a photo with his phone. The same guy I had been trying to avoid all day…talking to himself, dressed in a button down plaid shirt (for an ultra?), always seeming to be in my way. The same guy who sat too close to me at the prerace session – he bothered me. Scruffy, ill dressed for the grueling day, disconnected from other runners–was he even registered for this thing?

So I said hi and proceeded to pass by him and try to distance myself when he asked something like “How you doin’, man?”. I was honest and said “I’m dyin’ here.”

And so he proceeded to ask me about 10 questions as we walked onward–mostly about exactly–I man exactly- how far it was to the finish (18 miles or so), and how long exactly it would take (I told him I wasn’t sure… but just keep going and he would make it). Then he asked about my family–and I was knowing that this was no time for small talk.

“So you want to run together for awhile?”

No–I thought. We aren’t running here anyway–I thought. We are just surviving this thing.

But he just stayed behind me chattering away and he seemed to have a tick–like a severe, going off kind of tick. He also was having problems keeping his balance.

And he just kept chattering–which kept both of us moving.

The he told me,” I have Tourette’s, I’m pretty OCD, and my balance is terrible”. He continued saying that he had been a college student years ago when he developed a brain tumor. The surgery at M. D. Anderson in Houston to remove it had left him as he is. Pretty majorly debilitated.

So soon he knows all our kids names and ages and location–along with many other things. He has a sharp mind and caress about people.

We laugh as he tells me I am like an old bear following him and he is the rabbit. And now we have nicknames.

Then we come to an aid station at Long Lake and I force some food on him–he dines on noodle soup with Gatorade–I tell him don’t think about it, just swill it because you need it.

I also tell him this is the toughest section to come–6.8 miles uphill mostly with 13 plus miles total to the end.And I get him by his hard, sinewy shoulders and tell him we are going to make it. He nods with a smile and we are off.

“You back there, Bear?”

“I’m here Rabbit”

In moments I hear him chuckle between ticks and mutter, “6 miles up, 6 miles down. Piece of cake.” I’m starting to love this guy.

This brutal undulating trail is sucking every bit of energy, water, and hope out of us step by step and this Rabbit is keeping me alive.

Then as we struggle up across the back of the ridge above Steamboat, he starts telling me more about his condition:

  • “When we get to the bottom, I need to sit in the corner when we get something to eat–can’t have people behind me. But I am behind you! Yes but you are like an old bear, remember?”
  • “I never can sneak up on a bear–I go off and they know I am coming.”
  • Never could play hide and seek either as a kid–never could hide.

So we laugh and encourage each other as the trail eats away at any energy and breath we have left.

Then he proceeds to tell me that he has run some Iron Man deals–like 18 of them. And he can hardly stay on the trail his balance is so poor! He said the problem with the Iron Man competition is that he would fall of the bike when his tick acted up–and that he went bonkers with all those people around him in the water.

I realize what a walking–running miracle this guy is. And I thank God for the gift of being enriched and encouraged and helped by this “rabbit”.

At last we get to the last aid station. It is cold, windy, late and we are iffy on making it to the bottom before the cutoff. So I tell him, “Michael go ahead without me”. And he insists “No Way!’—but I prevail and he shuffles off ahead as I try to get some warm-ups on with frozen hands–and head down the hill in the dark. Alone.

So my new friend is Michael Conway: The Iron Man.

And my life has been changed forever.

Click that link to the Houston Chronicle article and yours may be too.




RRR 2016 Changed My Life–Whew!

My Back PagesBob Dylan

Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin’ high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
“We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said I
Proud ’neath heated brow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
“Rip down all hate,” I screamed
Lies that life is black and white
Spoke from my skull. I dreamed
Romantic facts of musketeers
Foundationed deep, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Girls’ faces formed the forward path
From phony jealousy
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My pathway led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
Too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking
I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms
Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now

Copyright © 1964 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1992 by Special Rider Music


Run Rabbit Run–Sheep

Last night I was running up to Rabbit Ears from Dumont–getting my legs ready for Run Rabbit Run 2016. Feeling good. Glad to be here in “My Best Third Third“.

There are always sheep in the area and this answers why that road is always dusty–even the day after a rain.

There must have been 2-4,000 of them, some dogs and no sight of the shepherds.

RRR Sheep 1

RRR Sheep 2


Olympic Men’s Marathon

This am watching the 2016 Rio mens marathon– feeling good with my own prep for the Run Rabbit Run 50 miler. These guys are way way beyond where I have ever been. Yet I am learning tidbits as I always try to do from the best.

Galen Rupp: training very very hard with Alberto Salazar. I have to be cautious to not overtrain. But miles are good. Build deep.

Jared Ward–wrote his masters thesis on marathon pacing. He is hanging back a bit in the first third. The “third third” of course is the kicker. As they just said on TV–the half way point of the marathon is about 20 miles.

Meb Keflezighi–Actually he just hit a wall–but is back running–struggling but running at age 41. Talking to himself now–fighting through it in his last major race. This guy is just a banner carrier for old runners. I love the way he goes forward with so little recognition. Food, consistent training, joy.

Image result for meb keflezighi

I am an ultra runner

Over the past few years I have repeated to myself the truth (never hurts to take in a lot of truth) that I am an athlete. BG got me going on this at Love Corner and it has carried me many a mile.

When I was running 13 -15 miles up and down Mt Werner at Steamboat last week, it hit me that I should update this- I am an ultra runner.

  • So I don’t just go out and run a bit–I go for it.
  • I am smart about how to run the first part of a race to be sure to finish
  • this year at Run Rabbit Run it is not about finishing–it is about setting a great mark for a 66 year old.
Run Rabbit Run

Running last week around snow above Steamboat.


50 Miles: Its Not about Being an Athlete

I am an athlete.

rantoul stretch

A few days before the Run Rabbit Run 50 miler, I called my brother Dick in Albuquerque.

We laughed about how I have this personal affirmation that I mutter to myself as I run, “I am an athlete”. I mean we laughed and laughed—a sort of goofy holler that a few of us Hensleigh sibs got from PW Hensleigh.

Anyway it is funny because there is not a one of us Winchester Kansas Hensleighs that you ever think of as an athlete. Personally I never scored a basket even though I loved basketball and followed it avidly. I never made a tackle or caught a pass even though I was on the field a fair bit. I never scored  point at a track meet or even ran on a relay. We had a decent track team and an excellent coach but it did not effect my performance.

My other bros and sisters were about the same–known more for music and achievement tests than athletic ability or performance.

Regardless, for me to understand that I was created to move and perform as an athlete is not just true, it really helps when I face one of those 12 mile days with 95 degree weather. And it has helped me immensely to get a vision for my Best Third Third as a fit and active old guy.

You see to run that 50 miles, I had to have the qualities of an athlete–training, finishing, using my strengths, joy.

I thank Bishop Gwin at Love Corner for pointing out from the Bible that we are athletes, and for the Younger Next Year guys for writing a simple inspirational guide that I use every day.

I am an athlete

We laugh about the idea of being athletic around the old Winchester, Kansas Hensleigh clan. With a few momentary exceptions, there were none of us eight kids of Paul and Aletha who showed any skill on the field or ran with any quickness on the track, or made even one basket in a game.

We played horns, read books, cooked up science experiments and did farm work.

But now at age 66, I feel most comfortable as an athlete. Usually I work out almost daily, I run some 20 -30 miles per week, and thrive when I am in shape. Beyond this I am able to avoid the old Wheeler/ Hensleigh bugaboo of depression when I am very active and eating well. This  is huge–I have spent too many days since age 18 under the rug.

The “Younger Next Year” idea has lodged in me.

So I ran (or walked) this 50 mile race in Steamboat last year– the Run Rabbit Run .

Oaxaca travel

Running on the Oaxaca coast–I am also a traveler…

And I think I will return at age 66 and see if I can set a respectable mark–like under 14 hours- for that age group.