Thursday, July 28, 2011


As I’ve mentioned in the past, my wife the Librarian, and my son the Hockey Slammer, have been the most supportive running family I think anyone could ever wish for (yep Trail Slammer, this episode is already shaping up to be a bigger suck up then your famous “apology episode” to the Trail Slimmer, or possibly better known as the “She’s the mother of my children….” episode).  But through the years, not only has the Librarian tolerated my running at ridiculous hours, and FOR ridiculous hours, but she and the Hockey Slammer have taken to not only coming to my Ultras, but captaining aide stations at them!

In fact, I suspect that at this point, if I didn’t even run some of their favorite events, they’d still be going without me!  So a week or so ago I get a ridiculous email from “you know who”, telling me that a bunch of people are getting ready for a midnight run, and that I had to come.  Well, of course I did as I didn’t want to put up with at least another week of hearing about what a “wimp” I am; the trails were an hour from home, and about 8 people were to start at midnight, and get whatever distance (in the end it was a pretty mediocre run for me – started out poorly but actually became much better near the end, and I left when I probably should have stayed, but that’s beside the point.)

So I came home before the event telling the Librarian and Hockey slammer about this fairly informal get together, and I should have known the look on their faces.  Both stared at me intently as I described the “figure 8 course”, and how the cars are right in the center offering a perfect spot for water and whatever.  Strangely they just started at me, and then looked at each other, and started talking about how they felt bad, but it was just too late, this running all night thing and they were not going to be able to come.  Of course I mentioned “No, you don’t understand, it’s just a run, not a race, I never meant to suggest that you come” and again you could see they were mentally deciding what liquids to bring, possibly our canopy, and even the Hockey Slammer mentioned burgers!  I laughed so hard, and informed them both that it’s not healthy to be obsessed by events like these, and how it would probably be best if they just slept that night.  They did mention, however, that if the Trail Slammer and I ever did get our act together and put on an event that they would create a station!  

So it’s true, behind every obsessed, compulsive ultra-runner is a support structure, and I have the best ever!  Thanks guys, I can’t imagine running an ultra without knowing that at some point, around some overgrown turn in the path, on top of some mountain, or more recently on the top of a cliff, you guys will be there!  On behalf of all of us runner types, THANKS!  :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

"I Want to Believe"

I remember watching the X-Files, years ago, and agent “what’s his name” had a poster behind his desk reading “I want to Believe” – referring to UFO’s and other crazy stuff.  Well, I feel a lot like that these days, and I’ll tell you why.

Wisconsin was HOT.  90+ degrees, and sunny on a very exposed course.  I had a plan, and I drank a full half bottle per mile, although I unfortunately shorted myself on salt, a mistake I won’t make again.  20 miles in and I could feel it, and this course was like nothing I have to train on at home – huge 500 foot cliffs, and lots of exposed trail – and the heat started early.  Actually I really do like the course, but at the 25 mile mark I had a choice, turn left to finish the 50K, or right to attack the 50 miles – the same choice I had at my last 50 mile run, and I was in the same state of dehydration.  This time I turned left, and I was glad I did, because by mile 30 my left quad was cramping so bad I could barely walk!  At mile 27 I was very sick, proving that I simply cannot process as much water as I sweat on a very hot day – it was discouraging, as I know I’m much better than this, but, as agent “what’s his name” would say, “I still believe…”

What I mean is, I KNOW I’m running very well right now.  I’m moving my “Marathon Every Saturday” plan to “50K every Saturday” – as long as I stay out of 90 degree weather I seem to do very well.  My belief is simple; as discouraging as recent races have been, I believe I’m very well trained, and that as fall approaches, and cooler weather starts, I’ll be able to race closer to my potential.  Sounds easy, but mentally I’m a bit torn up – but, I do believe!

50K on the street in the morning, and I plan to beat my 50K run in Wisconsin by about 2 hours.  Of course, it will be cooler, and the street is a LOT easier then this course, but I’m still looking forward to it!  The following week will be 50K on the trails.  At this point would it take audacity to sign up for the fall 100 Mile run?  I’ve pulled it off before -