Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sale of a Legend

I'm currently about an hour from Leadville and I just read that the race has been sold to Lifetime Fitness. I can only imagine what this will mean for the race.

Read article in ULTRArunning online. Read here on Leadville website, follow link

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

First "Ultra"

Handiwork of Coach John King, North St. Paul High School

I have been looking for this sheet for about 6 months, finally found it. It is from my first "Ultra" or at least my first endurance event - though neither of those designations meant anything to me at the time. This goes back roughly 30 years to my senior year in HS. There were ten guys who decided to do a fund raiser for the CC team. We decided on a 24 hour relay - on the track (it happened to be after track season).

The stats show we logged 246.5 metric miles (1600 meters is about 10yds short of a mile) in that 24 hours. My average mile split was 5:57:28, I ran 25 "miles".

I don't remember who's idea it was but we had no shortage of "idea" people on the team, half of them were just flat out cracked. Chasing squirrels throughout the parks, running double workouts nearly every day, eating worms off the track, mooning everyone who comes by - normal high school stuff mostly.

We approached the school administration about doing the relay and they ok'd it but would not be able to support it. The coach couldn't be involved either - though he was - behind the scene. We were not allowed to use the stadium lights. One of the guys worked for Menards and was able to get enough extension cords to go all the way around the track. About every 200 feet or so we plugged in a single light bulb socket and mounted them up on a little 2x2 stand. I can't for the life of me remember on what day of the week we started, I do know that we had school the next day, as we had promised to attend. I know at least two people who did not.

I think we started about 7 am.

The thought of something like this should be all too familiar to those reading. The idea was crazy, and I couldn't stop thinking about how much fun it was going to be. We had run a relay around Mille Lacs the previous summer, while that was 100K distance, we each only had to run a 10K or two. None the less it did give us a taste for the distance. There was some nut running the whole thing by himself. Go figure.

There is a lot about this event that I don't remember - until I found the sheet I didn't remember who I received the baton from or who I handed off to (sorry Dick). I don't remember much about fueling but no one really talked about that much back then. I do remember having bananas, raisins and water, maybe some PB&J sandwiches. I remember falling asleep and being awakened soon there after, again and again. I guess I do remember waking up Dick, the next runner after me just before heading out to the track. There were also a steady stream of supporters, never a crowd, but always a few concerned parents and a few people wondering if they had to make good on their pledges.

I remember some of the pain, the first mile over 6 minutes, the ache of the first few steps at the beginning of each leg. I remember a few people hurting worse than me.

I remember the encouragement of those who came for the last hour. In finding the ability to run faster than I thought I could, farther than I thought I could. I definitely remember the pain the few days following.

I don't often think about this event but I believe it helped shape me. Not that an 18 year old needs any help feeling invincible but I knew then that I was the only thing limiting me. I made many decisions after this event that undoubtedly, unconsciously, were influenced by it.

I await the next challenge - after I get my damn back figured out! Yet another MRI..... I'll be returning to running soon, one way or another. Meanwhile I'm trying to find some other old stuff to relive.