January 19th, 2020
Green Lakes Endurance Run -- the culmination of 5 weekends of heaven in the summer of '13
Saturday August 24th, 2013
I am sitting on my patio in Lake Zurich watching my 4 year old grandson play in the yard on a sunny afternoon, thinking about how to begin this race report. He keeps up a constant stream of questions that usually start with Why? or What? or How?... When people ask why I run so far, I have whittled the answer down to "It makes me feel like a kid again." Everything is new and possible and intriguing. We want to know the Why, the What, the How, the What if, the Can I? Joel calls to me and says he is playing "Neverland". He holds up a stick that has become Peter Pan's sword, and he is Peter Pan. Anything is impossible with a little ingenuity and imagination...
Six weeks ago I went to Willoughby Hills, OH to run Burning River 100, the 3rd race in the Midwest Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. The next weekend I took a "rest" by taking the weekend off of racing. Val and I took Joel to visit his great grandparents and some friends in Michigan. One way to feel like a kid is to spend time with kids. It was a nice weekend of sun and surf, socializing with old friends, and watching competitive beach volleyball and kids playing everywhere.
The following weekend, Val and I ran Howl at the Moon 8 hour. I ran 44.27 miles, a PR for me on the course. This is one of my favorite races dedicated to Rob Apple because he has logged an incredible amount of miles at the Howl in Danville, IL and in memory of Scott Hathaway who lost his life on the course in 2007. "Lost but never forgotten..." Mark, Deb and their volunteers make sure that everyone has a great time. Your lap counter is like your friend who you can't wait to see at the end of each loop. I thought he said his name was Bub, but with my hearing, who knows. In any case, he was the best. There was a nice addition this year with the manned aid station at the top of "Mt. Everest", the only steep hill on the course. After the awards ceremony, Val and I drove to Pinkney, MI to run the Woodstock training run on Sunday. It was a long drive and we only had 4 hours of sleep before the run started at 0700. It was an 18 mile run, spending time with Dick Canterbury, a fellow Slammer and meeting Melissa, John and Forest. Shortly after we reached the road with one mile to go, I was taken by surprise when I unexpectedly tripped and body-slammed the dirt road on a downhill with Dick running beside me. First my knees and forearms hit and then the momentum of the fall slammed my head down and a tooth flew out of my mouth. The only thing I could figure was I stepped on my untied shoelace, which I had failed to attend to. Melissa, running right behind us, said the tooth should be put in milk, but since we didn't have any, she put it in her water bottle. Long story short, we ended up at U of M emergency room and they put the tooth back in within 2 1/2 hours of it being knocked out. I had a root canal the next day, ate soft foods for a few weeks and the tooth is still trying to hang on, splinted in place with the 2 surrounding teeth. The knees swelled, but they seem to be gradually getting better. Surprisingly, that was the worst of it.
I called my sister in Anchorage to tell her I would still visit the next weekend but wasn't sure I could run the Moose's Tooth Marathon on 8/18. I took 2 days off running and then slowly started to train again. I ran the marathon on Sunday, a beautiful, somewhat hilly, coastal and forest trail, mostly asphalt, in a light but steady rain. The knees hurt but did not fail me and I finished my first marathon in almost 2 years in 3:45:07. I spent a wonderful, long weekend in the company of my sister and her husband, and Jan Silverman who also made the trip and was my inspiration to actually go, and her friends. One of Jan's friends, who hosted us for dinner one night, is a pediatric dentist who finished the Iditarod last year. I got to meet and socialize with her 23 sled dogs. We also got to run in the Dome, where Joe will host his 6 day race next year. It is a really nice facility with a dream 411M track, and friendly people.
I worked in between and sometimes on my trips to keep up with all that is going on at the hospital. But, no rest for the wicked. I had planned another race in Fayetteville, NY for the next weekend and it is the focus of this report. I will be as brief as possible :). So it was in the car again for the 12 hour drive to upstate New York for the Green Lakes Endurance Run. I was running the 100K and Val the 50K. I had never been to upstate New York and I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the area. When Tim mentioned that he was RDing the race this year some months ago, I couldn't resist jumping in to support the "ordinary white guy." :) You would think Tim was an old hat at RDing, because he pulled it off without a hitch. That must be the military in him... His father was so conscientious and dedicated before the race and at the finish line. His brother, Doug, took photos. Karen and Pat, who were so kind and accommodating to us the whole weekend, were at the race for about 15 hours on Saturday, running the start/finish aid station mostly. There were several other volunteers whose names I didn't always catch or remember who were fantastic supporters and who were on the spot for anything we might need.
It was warm and the "Serengeti" portion of the course through the rolling meadows was totally exposed. However, we were lucky with the weather since it is usually much more humid and there was no rain at all. It was a 7.77 mile loop, 4 times for the 50K and 8 times for the 100K. There were some flat sections and there were steep hills with roots and rocks, a gravel road and the meadows, winding around two lakes, one being Green Lake. Hikers and walkers were abundant on part of the course and they all but disappeared when we hit the Serengeti. Coming into the finish, we passed the beach, which was covered by people enjoying the beautiful weather. I had two "toddler collisions", the first being a 2 1/2 year old girl who wanted to cross the road and decided to do so just as I passed at full tilt -- her, not me :). She crashed into my legs and we both struggled to pass each other, me hoping not to topple her over. She wobbled, but continued along her trajectory unscathed, still wondering what got in her way... The 2nd was a curly-haired little girl who was about 4 and decided it would be fun to scare me as I ran by. She ran at me with a monster-face and growling. I reacted accordingly, being my last lap and wanting to get to the finish. I ran faster with a fearful look upon my face and she was satisfied that her mission was accomplished.
Only 20 runners finished the 100K, with Marianna, who I could only keep up with on the first loop, running her first 100K and winning for the women with a time of 11:13. The men's winning 100K time was 8:15. The 50K record was broken with a time of 3:28:27 and the women's winning time for the 50K was 4:45. As I understand it, the race did not happen at all last year and was affected by a hurricane one year. Thank you Tim and all others who made it happen this year! It is a gem of a race and I am so glad I had a chance to participate this year! I had hoped to go sub 14 so was thrilled to go sub 13 hours.
On the drive home we got waylaid in Canada when we stupidly followed the Garmin's direction. It is the shortest route back from Niagra Falls where we stopped, but the Garmin failed to inform us "Passport Required." The customs officials were reluctant but did finally decide to allow us back into the U.S. Chalk it up to another fine adventure, Ollie :)
I had another restful Labor Day weekend off of racing, just focusing on friends and family. Next up is Hallucination 100 this Friday evening, the last in the Midwest Grand Slam of Ultrarunning. Thank you so much, Dale, for creating this 2nd year series that has no altitude and is close enough to home! There are 13 contenders left -- good luck to all and I hope to see the 13 of us receiving our hard-earned awards this weekend in Pinkney, MI!
Who intends to feel like a kid for the rest of her life, like Dan Baglione, Kent Holder, Margie Withrow and so many others I admire who have set a fine example for those of us hoping to follow in their footsteps...
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