Fort Sill civilian runs ultra marathons
February 28, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Darrin Carter, Capabilities, Development and Integration Division, not only practices what he preaches, but he goes the extra mile. Carter teaches several running classes in the area and he competed in the Cowtown Ultra Marathon, a 31.1 mile race Feb. 23 in Dallas. He placed first in his age category and third in the men's overall.
"It is mostly mental. Starting was the hardest part," said Carter.
His time qualified him for the Boston Marathon, but his next goal is a lot longer. He has his feet set on the "Prairie 100" a 100-mile race in the Dallas area.
'I think I'm ready, but I don't know. I'll find out around mile 75," said Carter. "I haven't found my breaking point. I've done 50Ks, I've done 50 milers, and I'm looking actually at the opportunity to do a 130 miler in Arizona called the Bad Border Ultra Marathon. It's the highest accomplishment you can actually do in the U.S."
On average Carter treks 100-200 miles a week.He credits his great eating habits, sleep schedule, vitamins and continuous training for his ability to run long distances.
"There's no secret, it's just dedication," said Carter.
He said at the Cowtown race the mixture of marathon, half marathon and ultra marathon runners starting at the same time proved to be a challenge.
"They're going really, really fast which is the opposite of what [ultra marathoners] run so the excitement can get you carried away and ruin your entire run."
"With ultra marathoners we're different. We start slow and we go slower," said Carter.
With a nine-minute pace, some would dispute his idea of slow, but Carter said pace is the key to finishing.
He said as far as pre-race rituals he keeps it basic. He just needs pasta the night before, a good night's sleep and Pedialyte to get the electrolytes without all the sugar.
With all of the racked up miles, Carter surprisingly only buys one to two pairs of shoes a year. He wears Newton Running shoes; a brand he said are engineered for the long distance runner.
"I have a pair of shoes that have 1,700 miles on them and they probably have another 1,000 miles on them."
Carter is currently ranked sixth in the state and at age 44 he plans on continuing the sport well into his golden years.
"It's almost spiritual if that makes any sense. At certain distances it's almost euphoric. It's a chance to clear my mind, put things back in perspective," said Carter.
He said mile 28 and mile 40 provide almost out of body experiences.
"I use it as my time to pray. And plus you get to look at all these beautiful sights because there are places you can't get to by car and ultra marathoners always get to these places. We go anywhere."
He has two hobbies: running and reading and he combines the two by listening to books on an mp3 player while he runs.
"Right now I'm listening to 'Agenda 21' by Glenn Beck."
With a swollen toe, Carter said he gets a lot of deep tissue massages to fix the aches and pains, but for the most part he doesn't slow down between races.
"The question becomes how soon can you recover from one before you can do another one? So, I ran one [Saturday] and I'm running one in two weeks. I wish there was one this weekend."
Even though running and especially ultra marathon distances are mostly an individual sport when it comes to competing, Carter only wishes for more Soldiers and community members to join him.
"We have a really large running community and I'm really hoping the Lawton-Fort Sill area becomes of the running friendly cities."