July 18th, 2019
Dances with Dirt Gnaw Bone, IN
Saturday May 15th, 2010
This was my 4th 50 mile race of the year in preparation for Leadville my first 100 in August.
I belong to an ultra running club called RUT the “Running Fit Ultramarathon Team”. A Michigan based collective of Type A over achievers who are totally supportive of each other with impressive race resumes. This race was organized by “Running Fit” of which RUT is a part so as expected a number of RUT-sters were out to pound the trails.
Though I was pleased to finish this race the true story is the corporate success we achieved as a team. The RUT-stats:
Kai Keliikuli. Overall winner of the 50 mile race by a 28 minute margin at his first 50 mile race - Totally inspirational.
Jeni Keliikuli (Kai’s wife – what a team). 1st Marathon, 1st AG and 2nd overall female. When you do a road marathon it will be soooooo much easier, dare I say enjoyable?
Coach Farra Karsen. 1st AG, 2nd overall female. A narrow 33 second margin well fought for over a grueling 20 miles. But where did she get the energy? I distinctly remember she did not eat much of that spaghetti at Hob Nob's Restaurant the evening before but did confess to feasting at 2AM. In training for the Hallucination 100 in September, her first 100. “Go Farra, Go!”
Ken Arble. 2AG. Coasts in nice and comfortably after a 100 mile training week. All the best Ken at Western States 100 in June and see you in Leadville.
Mark McCaslin. Blasting home 53 minutes ahead of last years run under very trying conditions.
Steve Kirinovic. First 50k, 2AG. He had a blast and is now hooked.
And our 50 mile Relay Team "Tuf Enuf" for being totally dressed in Pink.
DWD Gnaw Bone is the second in a series of four ultras (plus marathon), one for each season. DWD Green Swamp was run in Florida in February, DWD Devil’s Lake, WI will be in July and the icing on the ultra cake, the pièce de résistance will be DWD Hell, MI in September. More of a slogfest than a run. I can hardly wait.
Trail conditions. It rained buckets during the week so there was loads of mud. The race director, Randy Step, Running Fit owner and self proclaimed “Head Goat” intends for DWD courses to be challenging, so there are many of what he likes to call “Stupid spots”. To quote the Goat “Stupid spots include swamp crossings, river crossings, hills too steep to climb and can only be a butt slide down. Did we mention poison ivy, thorns, poor marking, bad (no) footing, a waiver that mentions your death 3 times and that we charge you for this?” From experience I can add running through ankle deep muddy horse trails and the accompanying horse droppings which all adds to the flavor.
Much to my surprise a number of non-RUT runners I’d first met and ran with at DWD Green Swamp in February were here and asking for me, it felt like I was being stalked.
Being new to ultra running what surprises me is how fast the time goes. This is totally incomprehensible to my non running friends who amongst other put downs claim, “Running is boring and what do you think about?” I have learnt this year not to mention what I’ve been up to at the weekends. The bizarreness of what we do makes if difficult for them to comment since there is no shared common point of experience. The bond I have with my ultra team colleagues has been forged in the furnace of shared adversity. We have applied ourselves to a specific goal and have survived and are better people for it than when we first had the dream of competing at this high level. To be trail running is like being in a time machine. Once your body gets over the shock of what you’re asking of it you do settle into a groove. Though I look at my watch to see if I’m on pace for some imagined finish time it never ceases to surprise me how quickly an hour can go by. The constant mental challenge of: foot placement, hydration, feeding, clothing means it keeps you busy. I have learnt that when you lose your focus on these disciplines is when you fall, literally. In a nutshell ultra running is Discipline.
Though there was a lot of camaraderie on the course such as signaling to a runner when they went off course, this camaraderie had its limits. We are still essentially competitive animals. This was keenly demonstrated in the last few miles. I had to “deal” with a runner who got to the last aid station as I was leaving, I had to put my foot down, you know what it’s like. It was a close fought thing and I sneaked in 38 seconds ahead of him to secure 7th place overall out of 53 finishers. If that wasn’t stressful enough a good friend of mine (2nd overall female) was pursued for a whole 20 miles to win her glory with a 33 second margin.
I am told that ultra running can be an emotional experience. I am willing to admit I had a momentary weak moment in the midst of the adventure, thinking sad thoughts that had me on the verge of blubbing as I shuffled along. Surprisingly when I complete one of these events I do not feel elated, relieved yes but not elated. I’m simply pleased to be surrounded by my friends and drink the beer they hand me as the race marshal cuts off the timing chip from my shoe.
Now rested up I have registered for the “Another Dam 50k” in Englewood, OH. A precursor to me attending the Leadville training camp in June and then the 3rd DWD adventure in Devil’s Lake, Baraboo, WI in July.
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May 21st, 2010 9:45 pm
May 24th, 2010 8:00 am
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