A friend I knew from high school named Lydia Morris was in town last weekend for Thanksgiving and participated in the YMCA’s Turkey Run with me. I love hearing her story and seeing the positive affect being active has had on her life. Each time I go to a race, I’m amazedat the myriad reasons people run. Some people are working to get in shape or to lose weight. Some are taking positive steps to fight heart disease or diabetes. Many people enjoy the sense of accomplishment that running gives them and the camaraderie of the running community. Some, like Lydia, make running part of their life to have time to themselves, to fight stress and to gain energy. I know that my own motivation contains a little of all of these reasons. I hope you enjoy Lydia’s race recap, and I hope you each can find great reasons to Get Out and get active!
- Laura Sievert
A Newbie to Running Tells Her Story
By Lydia Morris
“This is the first time I’ve ever been able to see my breath when running.” I said to a fellow 5K jogger the morning of the Quincy Family YMCA Turkey Run. I made a commitment to running this past June, and where I live in Atlanta, GA, a typical summer day is pretty hot and humid. Thanksgiving morning was my first time running in sub 50 degree weather, and I loved every minute of it!I didn’t start running to get in shape or to lose weight. After high school, my history of working out had been sporadic at best. I just didn’t care much about physical activity. That changed when after six long years of graduate school with no end in sight, I had settled into a routine of too little sleep, an unhealthy diet and very little free time. Though I did carve out a little time for church activities, dinners with friends and play dates with my little cousins, I had mostly forgotten about the world outside of school and work. My life was completely unbalanced, I had no energy, and to say I was stressed out would be an understatement.
Completely overwhelmed and burned out, I was desperate to find a way to effectively relieve stress. I decided that whatever it was needed to be cheap, fun and not take up too much of my time. I did a little research and decided to start running because it isn’t expensive, it’s not very time-consuming, and I heard from others that it can be enjoyable.
I started out slowly with the popular 9-week long Couch to 5K (C25K) program, which allowed me to ease into the workouts without wanting to immediately give up as in the past. For three days a week I alternated between treadmill workouts and walking/running around my neighborhood in the evenings after it cooled down.
I did start to enjoy running, and I also began to do a little research. I read yoga would help to prevent injuries, so I started going to a yoga class on Saturday mornings. I also read that healthy eating, getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water are also important habits for runners. As my running improved each week, I slowly adopted these habits and noticed a substantial difference. I dropped about ten pounds over the past five months, but I am also more focused, I have much more energy and I feel much happier. Running helped me make both my physical and my mental health priorities.
Just a few weeks of running had improved my mood and motivated me to make some healthy lifestyle changes. At that point I wanted to continue increasing my running distance, and I needed a goal other than just to finish the C25K program. It worked out that in August the cancer center at Emory University, where I go to school, announced it would holding its first annual 5K fundraiser (Winship Win the Fight 5K) in October. I formed a team with a few of my co-workers, signed us up, and continued to run weekly.
Before the race, I only made it through “week six” of C25K, which ended in a 20 minute run. For me, that’s about two miles. I figured if I could run two, I could run three. I tested my theory by looking up the course online and trying it out a week before race day. After about a mile of jogging I felt like I might pass out! It was much hillier than I was used to, so I ended up stopping and walk-running the rest of the way. It seemed the course was pretty much either flat or on a slight upward incline the whole 3.2 miles. Though I was pretty discouraged by all the hills, I set two goals for race day: to finish in 30 minutes and to not walk at all.
I noticed something interesting the morning of the race. The start/finish line was set up in the opposite direction from how I had practiced a week before. So the course would be mostly flat and downhill. Yes! With the excitement of the crowd (~2,000 runners and walkers) and my adrenaline going, I was sure I’d be able to accomplish my goals. I ended up running for the entire race with an unofficial time of 31:22, according to my wristwatch. I was really proud of what I accomplished in terms of running the whole race and contributing to a worthy cause (our team raised $1,250). I was actually happier than I’d been in a long time.
Getting back to the morning of the Turkey Run, in our family we usually hit a holiday trifecta every several years. I was born on November 24th, which is also my parents’ wedding anniversary. This year it was also Thanksgiving Day! I used this to my advantage when I signed up for the run and added my younger sister, Regina, to my team for the 5K leisure walk. I knew this was a little early for her, especially for a non- work day, but I figured I could convince her using the old “but it’s my birthday” line. It worked, and we were out of the house by 7:30 a.m. to go pick up our packets. I’m glad we arrived early because it gave us a chance to catch up on sister time since we don’t see each other very often. I also happened to see Laura who was running the 10K, and we chatted for a bit before the race started. She truly is an inspiration to anyone wanting to be more physically active!
Regina ran into a few of her friends — one was walking and the other was running the 5K. She‘d have a walking buddy and I’d have a running buddy! When the race started I was determined to beat my time of 31:22. My sister’s friend blew by me and as I watched her pass me up, but I decided to just go with my own speed. At my usual 10 min/ mile pace, and with some of my favorite tunes blasting in my ear buds, the first few miles were easy. I was reminded why I enjoyed my first race so much. I love jogging next to so many people who all have the same goal, and it’s nice that the traffic is cut off to allow us to do so.
Around mile three I got a pretty intense stomach cramp that didn’t go away with the controlled breathing I read about, so I walked for about half a minute. I quickly remember my goal of beating my previous finishing time so I started running again and managed to power myself up the last hill to the finish line. Gift to self: my official time was 31:09! On my 28th birthday I saw my breath while running for the first time, I ran my second 5K and I continued on my journey toward a healthier lifestyle initiated by a new found love of running.
My favorite running/fitness/motivation quote: “You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.”
The Inaugural Veteran’s Day Run was held last Friday, 11/11/11, at the Quincy Soldiers and Sailors Home. The event was part of a larger national event that was organized to raise money for various military support groups including the Wounded Warrior Project. In a sign-up period of only 3 weeks, the Quincy chapter of the Veteran’s Day 11K run or 1 Mile walk had registered about 50 runners and a dozen walkers.
For me, the event was going to be a big challenge. I’d never entered a run that was more than 5K, and my recent training runs have only been around 3-4 miles. The 6.8 mile course would be a new personal distance record- if I could complete it.
The runners all gathered at the shelter house of the Soldiers and Sailors Home at about 7 am. A dozen dedicated volunteers, organized largely by Dave Ulrich of the organization “Fishing for Freedom” and Army SSG Aarron Patrick, helped to register all the participants and hand out race bibs.
Pre-race, I found myself in the corner of the building trying to stay warm and chatting with the three Koren War Veterans that had volunteered to present our flag during the opening of the event. Miss Quincy, Rachel Shriver, was also on-hand to help run the ceremonies.
Close to start time, the runners and walkers gathered by the flag-adorned fountain and the Koren War Vets brought out the flag. Veterans of all wars were recognized, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and then, rather than have someone sing the National Anthem, the entire group sang it together. I hope the group singing of the Star Spangled Banner is a tradition that sticks with this event, because the feeling of our voices raised to our country standing among friends and veterans in a crisp autumn morning was extraordinarily moving.
The runners huddled in a group around the starting line. I was standing near a group of friends from the Heartland Road Runners Club who I knew were ready to rock this race. I was nervous about the distance, but since it was 32 degrees outside, I was definitely ready to get moving when SSG Patrick pulled the trigger on the starting gun.
The group all started the course together and someone hollered a call and answer run chant of, “I don’t know but I’ve been told, the Veteran’s Run is mighty cold.” I was running pretty easy at the beginning, and it was nice to have my muscles start to warm up as we headed out on the course.
The run was designed such that the first section circled the perimeter of the military cemetery at the top of a hill on the campus of the home. I was in the back of the pack when we got to this point in the run, and it brought a tear to my eye to see the white tomb stones under clear blue skies and the watchful eye of a row of flags. The circle of runners was silent except for footfalls, and they became an honor guard to remember the heroes that were buried there.
The run then took us back to the main part of the Veteran’s Home campus and around the Quincy Deer Park. The five-acre fenced park at the center of the Veteran’s Home facility houses deer, goats, peafowl, and other animals. The timing was perfect for me because I was really starting to get winded, and watching the clearly bewildered deer watch us run around their fence was pretty funny. It took my mind off the burn and helped me to keep going.
I spent the rest of lap one of the two-lap course soaking up the scenery. There were veterans sitting on the stoops of buildings or in the windows of their rooms watching us pass, and I tried to wave to all of them. We passed the Eternal Flame Monument, the assorted tanks and military vehicles that are all over the facility, and the All-Wars Museum.
I was actually feeling pretty good by the beginning of the second lap. I navigated the uneven ground and just kept trucking. I’d see my friends that were ahead of me each time the course doubled back on itself, and we’d high-five or yell something encouraging to one another. I sort of zoned-out and kept right on going through the course. I passed the pen with the miniature horses and the emu, and I thought that I couldn’t be so close to the finish line. I assumed I’d be dying when I got into that 6th mile, since it was beyond anything I’ve run before. Sure enough though, I was already there and there was less than a mile to go.
I can tell you, I’m going to have a hard time putting the end of the race in words. Most of my friends had long since finished the course and were standing about a half mile from the end of the course. As I rounded the corner, my husband, then my friend Jeremy, then a whole group of runners from the Heartland Road Runners hopped back on the course and ran the last half mile with me. My super-speedy friend Jeff kept right in step with my pace (which was probably pretty darned slow for him) and Ali and Michelle shouted out encouragement and congratulations on my finish- which they knew was a personal distance record for me. It was so neat and encouraging to have them all join in, that I practically floated the last 200 yards.
I ended the race with a time of 1 hour and 11 minutes (and 18 seconds). That’s right. I did an 11K on 11/11/11 in 1:11. Best. Finish. Time. Ever.
I sincerely hope that the Veteran’s Day Run becomes a new Quincy tradition. It’s only going to get bigger and better, and I’m proud to have taken part in the first one. It was a great way for us all to remember our men and women in uniform on a holiday we too often take for granted.
For my part, finishing this personal long distance has given me a lot of confidence in my ability to learn to become a better runner. The support of friends in the Heartland Road Runners and Walkers Club has meant a lot to me, and in fact, has given me the motivation I needed to go ahead and sign up for my first half-marathon. I’d encourage any readers of Get Out to come check out the club. They’re such an inclusive group and will help you develop from “can’t run a mile” all the way to your personal goal for running and fitness.
And don’t forget that the annual Turkey Run and Jingle Bell Run are coming up. I’ll be there- and I’ll be finishing- with a little help from my friends!
*To find out more about the Heartland Road Runners and Walkers, visit http://hrrwc.com/
Are you a gadget-head? Are you excited about the next awesome piece of gear or are you the first to know about new upgrades for the latest products for your adventures?
For the last eight months of blogging about the outdoors, I’ve steered clear of gear reviews. However, I’ve dropped a few bucks here and there on some outdoor products that have been worth the money and others where I feel like I really could use a refund, so I thought I’d share them with you today. And since buying gear is all about the Benjamins, I included some wit and wisdom from Ben Franklin himself along with my thoughts.
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
I hear a lot of excuses for reasons people aren’t wearing bike helmets, but they’re all pretty stupid. It doesn’t matter how short the trip is, how safe you think the roads are, or how nice and sunny the day is, wear a helmet! It’s my #1 best purchase of the year. I think I paid $25 for my Bell-brand-dome-saver, and as you can see, my head is still a gray-matter-friendly shape.
“Old boys have their playthings as well as young ones; the difference is only in the price.”
I wrote a long blog about my search for a new bike that you can read here. All I have to say about that is getting a bike that fits is 100% worth the money! If you’re in the market for a new ride, go to a bike shop and skip the ‘Mart. You won’t regret it.
“A place for everything, everything in its place.”
Ah, it’s the oft-quoted backpacker’s mantra. Hiking supplies are one of the places that I’ve spent some money I’d like back. First rule: anything made by that ubiquitous company with the green packaging that you find in the sporting goods section of every mega-mart is much cheaper than the name brand. There’s good reason for that. It’s junk. It’s too big, it’s too heavy, and it’s too prone to failure. Less is more when it comes to camping and hiking supplies and buying quality items is paramount. My advice is to think long and hard about what you’re buying and what purpose it serves for your hike. Every ounce you add to your pack is an ounce you’ve got to tote around the woods. Buy items that are great multi-taskers. Buy items that are more durable than you think you’ll need. And plan your pack with the quote above this paragraph in the front of your mind.
“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”
For those that move, let me recommend a great gift: Socks! Nothing will ruin an adventure faster than the wrong footwear. I now have special socks for hiking, biking, and running and I am a firm believer in the magic of sock technology. I just bought some poly-blend running socks made by Mizuno, and they’ve completely stopped the blisters I was getting, they keep my feet warm and dry, and they even have built-in arch support. The socks I have for hiking are tall, warm and use moisture-wicking technology. That amazing advance keeps my tootsies nice and comfy even on winter hikes. Forget stuffing my stocking this year- the stocking is what I really want!
“Diligence is the mother of good luck. By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”
When we were out biking on the Katy Trail this summer, we came across some people pushing a bike with a flat tire along a stretch of trail that was at least 10 miles from anything. It was also over 100 degrees outside at the time and they only had half of a small water bottle between them. Laura to the rescue! When I cycle, I bring a patch kit, a hand-pump, a tire tube and tire changing tools. I also always have flashlights and at least a minimal first aid kit. When it’s hot (and usually even when it’s not) I bring more water than I think I’ll need. You won’t regret the money you spend on preparedness, because in my experience, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ you need it, it’s a matter of when.
“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”
If you’ve a mind to catch happiness, I suggest you start with a good pair of running shoes. I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here, but don’t go to super-mega-shoe- store! More often than not, small specialty stores have well-trained staff who will be happy to share their expertise and don’t mind spending extra time with each customer. I went to a running store in Bloomington, IL recently. There, I tried on a half-dozen pairs of running shoes and ran around the block in each before I decided which shoes to buy. Try running out of a department store to test shoes and see what happens! Wait… no, don’t try that. The point is, no matter what kind of gear you’re shopping for, you’re about to drop your hard-earned money, so don’t settle for sub-par service. Most specialty stores employ people who share the same interest as you do, and they can teach you a lot about how to select the right gear for your activity. (For those curious, I ended up buying Mizuno Wave 7s at Often Running in Bloomington, IL)
There are lots more great pieces of gear out there, but those are just a few of my thoughts from this year. What’s your favorite piece of gear? What gear do you wish you could return? Leave comments below!
This week, I put a playlist for running together on my iPod. It actually took quite a bit of time to decide which songs would make the cut. Each song had to pass a little test. It had to be upbeat (poor John Mayer). It couldn’t be a waltz (sorry Mumford and Sons). It had to have a positive or uplifting message (and there goes half of my music library; especially all of my Pink Floyd). I considered my favorite songs for working out, and even googled other people’s favorite songs for working out. After much consideration, I came up with about 2 hours of music suitable for running. I updated my status on Facebook declaring my intention to go for a 4 mile solo run to try my playlist, but then something interesting happened.
My friend Melissa replied to my status that she was also going for a run. I quickly ditched the ‘solo’ plan and suggested we meet up and hit the pavement together. So that’s what we did. We met down at the park by the river, and took off north down Bonansinga Drive.
The wind was blowing a cold front in to the area while we ran. Leaves rustled and twigs cracked under our shoes. We chatted at some points, but at other times, we just ran. At times our footfalls were synchronized, and I imagined that if a blind person were listening, they’d probably think there was only one runner there. As we approached our cars at the end of the run, a few fat rain drops started to fall from the swirling gray sky and I listened to them plop both on the ground and in the river. The whole run was a cacophony of sound, even though I never turned on my iPod.
That’s when lightning struck! Um… metaphorical lightning I mean. (If you saw the sky Wednesday night, you’d agree that I was lucky it was only metaphorical lightning.) Playing has its own soundtrack. It’s got its own Greatest Hits compilation. It’s got a Track (and Field?) List that just can’t be topped with anything that I can load on my iPod. So, in no particular order, here are the 10 Tracks of Play I like to listen to most. You can’t download them, but you can Get Out and enjoy them any time you like.
The Play List:
- Squeak! By: Tennis Shoes on Tennis Court
- Crack! By: Summertime Baseball
- Swoosh! By: Nothin but Net
- Crunch; Walking in an Autumn Wonderland By: Hiking, Running, and Walking
- Rhythm Section By: Shoes on Pavement
- Shhhhhhhh By: Bike Tires on Blacktop
- Ploomp! By: Soccer Ball On Foot
- Kapow!!! By: Football’s Greatest Hits
- Wzzzzzzz… Plink! By: Gone Fishin’
- LOL- By: How Friends Play
I’d like to hear more about your favorite sounds of sports or play too! Leave a comment below and tell me what your Get Out soundtrack is like!
Attend the Veteran’s Day Parade
The fourth Annual Quincy Veteran’s Day Parade will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. More than 60 floats are registered for this event. They will leave from 12th and MaineStreet and head toward Washington Park. Friend of the Get Out Blog, U.S. Army Veteran and current Army Reserve Drill Sergeant Jared Busen will be leading the ‘riderless Horse,’ in honor of fallen heroes in this parade. I encourage everyone to go down and support our hometown heroes.
Run for it!
The Inaugural National Veteran’s Day Run/Walk will be held next Friday, Nov. 11. The local 11K (6.8 mile) run or 1-mile walk will be held at the Illinois Veteran’s Home at 1707 North 12th St. Registration begins at 7 a.m. by the shelter house at the lake. At 7:30 there will be a short informational presentation for all participants and then the
opening ceremonies will follow at 7:40. The opening ceremonies include a presentation of colors, prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and recognition of all the veterans in attendance. The run or walk will begin at 8 am. The cost to participate in the event is $22 or $11 for veterans or active duty military. You can register online at www.veteransdayrun.com/run/virtual You may also Aaron Patrick at 1-877-266-9337 or Dave Ulrich 217-242-7425 if you have questions.
Run for It Later!
I have to miss the Veteran’s Day Run because I work on Friday morning, but that doesn’tmean I can’t participate! Runners who want to support the event can still register online at www.veteransdayrun.com/run/virtual and pledge to complete the run on their own time. Registration costs are the same, and you will still be mailed a National Veterans Day Run cotton t-shirt, race bib, collector’s pin and lanyard. If you complete and log your run, you will receive also receive a finisher’s certificate online. You may also add a National Veterans Day finisher’s medal for $8.
Thank or Remember a Veteran!
If you only do one thing this Veteran’s Day, I hope it’s to thank or remember a veteran. We owe our freedom to our brave men and women in uniform, and we can never repay the debt this country owes to our veterans.
This Veteran’s Day, I send my personal remembrances to my Grandpa Wayne Ward (Army, WWII), Grandpa Byron “Lug” Atterberg (Army, WWII), and great uncle Caroll Schmoellenger (Special Forces, WWII). I also send thanks to my uncle Jack Atterberg (Army, Vietnam), Jared Busen (Army, Afghanistan), Michelle Biederman (Navy, Iraq/Afghanistan) and all other friends and relatives who have served.
— Laura Sievert
Ahhhhh … Swimsuit season is officially over, and if you’re like me,
you’re thinking sweet thoughts of holiday treats and big family dinners. I really hate to undo all of the good work I’ve done to get fit this summer though. If only there were a way to have my mashed potatoes and stay in my current blue jeans too …
YMCA Turkey Run
Before you pop the bird in the oven, head on over to the Quincy Family YMCA’s 32nd Annual TurkeyRun. You won’t feel too bad about a second piece of pie if you started your Thanksgiving morning with a 5K run or walk, 10K run or 1 mile walk! This Quincy tradition brings hundreds of runners and walkers together to celebrate something we should really be thankful for: our health and fitness. You can register online for the event at http://www.active.com/running/quincy-il/quincy-family-ymca-turkey-run-2011-oy086 The fee for participation is $27 for individuals if you sign up before 11/17, or $55 for a family of up to 4 people. On 11/18, registration goes to $32 for individuals or $60 for families of up to 4. Proceeds benefit the YMCA.
Jingle Bell Run/Walk
Oh what fun it is to run! The 2011 Jingle Bell 5K Run/Walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation will be held at the Quincy Mall on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Jingle Bell Run/Walk is a national event whereparticipants kick off their holiday season by raising money to fight the No. 1 cause of disability in the United States: arthritis. You’re encouraged to wear holiday-themed costumes and to tie bells to your shoes to celebrate the season! You can register as a team or as an individual. Early-bird registration rates end Nov. 12, so sign up soon! All of the registration information can be found here http://jinglebellquincy.kintera.org. If you can’t run in the event, you can always donate to teams or individuals running. To make a donation, visit http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/ccp.asp?
I hope you get the chance to Get Out and take part in these events. I’ll be there with bells on!
I went to Kelly’s Restaurant the past two Tuesday nights, but it wasn’t for the cheese soup or the cinnamon rolls. In fact, it was for a much healthier purpose all together. I was there to meet with the Heartland Road Runners and Walkers Club and participate in their evening social run!
The HRRWC is a chapter of the Road Runners Club of America. Their mission is to promote walking, running and active lifestyles for people of all ages and fitness levels. The Quincy Club has many scheduled group runs, including the one I participated in the last two weeks.
I’m a pretty active person, but running has always been tough for me. I’m slow and maybe a little self-conscious, and I was really intimidated by the idea of running with a group. Many members of the Quincy Bicycle Club are also members of HRRWC though, and they kept telling me I needed to give running with the club a shot. At the very least I thought it would give me something new to blog about, so I laced up my Mizunos and went out to meet the club.
The Tuesday evening social runs meet in the parking lot at a different Quincy restaurant each month. This month the run meets at Kelly’s at 6:45. I talked my friend Jeremy into going to with me, and when we arrived, there was about a dozen runners ranging in age from 15 to 55 standing in the parking lot. I didn’t really know what to expect from there. I knew a few of the people there were amazing athletes and I was pretty worried that I’d be left in their dust as soon as we took off. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case at all.
We set out from the Kelly’s lot out toward 30th Street. The pace was nice and easy and people were chatting while we jogged. We turned up Maine Street and spread out in a long line going through Madison Park. It was a beautiful autumn evening and I was actually really enjoying the run. The group naturally broke itself into smaller groups about a mile into the run. My friend Jeremy is a stronger runner than I am and he went with the middle group. I was in the slowest group, but the four of us stuck together and I never felt like I was slowing anyone down.
Doug Seebers paired up with me at about the 1.5 mile mark, and he explained that he uses a system of running called the Jeff Galloway Program. I’ll write more about this in an upcoming blog, but I learned that the program is a running and walking combination designed to maximize distance and minimize injury for runners. Doug and I alternated running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute for the remainder of the 3.2 mile run. It was only after the run that I learned that Doug has completed 35 full marathon runs (26.2 miles) using this method.
Running with Doug was great for a beginner like me. He was full of encouragement and helped me to push just a little harder without making me feel like I wasn’t moving fast enough. The second week I ran with another club member, Denise Poland, and I was again surprised at how encouraging it was to run with someone else and share in another club member’s enthusiasm for being active.
After each evening social run, the club sticks around for dinner at the restaurant that they started from. I really enjoyed the conversation after the run. Every bit of the experience was welcoming and inclusive, and I’m really excited about learning from each of the runners of the HRRWC. I would encourage any of my readers to join us in the parking lot at Kelly’s next Tuesday at 6:45 to Get Out and give the Heartland Road Runners and Walkers Club a shot. They’ve definitely got a place for you, no matter how much or how little experience you have.
To learn more about HRRWC, visit www.hrrwc.com or find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heartland-Road-Runners-and-Walkers-Club-HRRWC/73873799611 Yearly membership to the club is $15 for an individual or $25 for a family. Evening social runs will start from Kelly’s on Tuesdays at 6:45 throughout October. After that, you may contact Glenn Swick at email@example.com to find out where the club will be meeting. There are also early morning runs on Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30 AM leaving from Starbucks. Information and times for other scheduled runs and events are on the HRRWC website.
Readers of the Get Out blog will remember an article in July introducing you to Jared Busen, an ultra runner. Earlier in September, Jared competed in the Badgerland Ultra Track Marathon with the goals of raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project and running 130 miles in 24 hours. Busen raised more than $3,400 for the Wounded Warrior Project. He also ran over 91 miles before issues with keeping calories in his system forced him to stop the race. Even though he was unable to finish, his total distance placed him third in the Badgerland event.
I talked to him after the race, and despite being somewhat disappointed that he was unable to complete 130 miles, Busen is looking forward to his next Ultra Marathon. In fact, this weekend, Jared plans to run 100 kilometers (62.2 miles) at the same event in which I plan to ride my bike 100 kilometers. The Get Out blog will continue to keep readers up-to-date on Jared’s races, including his return to the McNaughton race in Vermont May. Last year, he won the 150-mile race, and this year he plans to compete in the 200-mile event. In ultra-exciting news, I plan to be part of his race crew for this amazing event. And as long as I’m setting running goals, I’ve decided that if my friend can run 200 miles, I ought to be able to run 13 … so I’m making plans now to run in the 2012 Bridge the Gap to Health Half Marathon. This event is scheduled for May 12, 2012, and more information can be found on the Bridge the Gap Facebook page. The Get Out blog congratulates Jared on his performance in the Badgerland Track Ultra and wishes him continued ultra-running success. Here’s his recap of the event. More information can be found at his website www.runhappens.com.
Badgerland Track Ultra Recap
Sept. 3, 2011, was the 24-Hour Badgerland Track Ultra. This race takes place on a 400-meter track, log as many miles as you can in 24 hours. My goal was to run 130 miles before the time elapsed. This was a big goal, but one I know I’m capable of achieving. Well, I fell way short of it. I didn’t even run all 24 hours. This won’t be an in-depth recount cause when you run 369 laps around a 400-meter track, they all blur together. Even had I wrote it right after the race, it still would all blur together. My official distance is 91.731 miles.
My crew was Brandon and Betsy Barnes. They both did a great job supporting me and getting me whatever gear or food I needed as the day progressed. Betsy walked the 6-hour and reached her goal of going more than 20 miles; she finished with 20.136 miles.
My buddy Ryan Dexter was there also, he was trying to cover 145 miles that day. Once the race started, he took the lead immediately and was setting a solid pace. I was trailing anywhere from half a mile to two miles for the first few hours. After that, him and I started trading for first place. We’d run together for a bit then split off on our own pace. We were the only two racing this thing; everyone else was taking it easy and just logging miles.
To put it in perspective, Ryan and I were doing the 24 hour race. We were running faster then any of the runners in the 12-hour race. Only one person in the 6-hour race was running as fast as we were, but he was there to pace Ryan. He and I were both setting a tough pace.
Ryan would lead, then I would lead, then he would lead. We spent a few hours trading for first place. Then he started to feel bad. Long story short, Ryan took a break and ended up dry heaving and calls the race. He covered 62.397 miles before dropping. It was a huge effort up to that point. I really hated to see him drop for a few reasons. 1.) He’s a hell of an ultra runner, I hate to see him drop. 2.) He’s a buddy of mine, hate to see him suffer 3.) He was my only competition, part of my motivation to keep pushing myself. Now the race was basically mine to loose. I’m way ahead of second place and, while I’m feeling a bit rough, I’m still running a solid pace.
To be honest the whole race was a bit off for me. I didn’t feel up to par to begin with, not sick or bad, just not completely right. I was hoping that I would catch my groove at some point, my body would remember what ultra running feels like and I’d hit the zone and just run. But it never occurred. All day I kept pushing, and not feeling like I was going anywhere. Yes, I was in the lead for a large portion of the race, but it never felt easy. I was fighting for it.
I keep the lead, eventually I’m 8 miles up on second place. Way out in front and no one even close. I’m still not feeling right, mentally I’ve been struggling the whole day. My stomach is starting to feel wrong, and mentally I’m feeling worse and worse. I keep fighting myself, can’t get past the hump. I hit the 90-mile mark right at 18 hours. This is the time when my stomach has had enough for whatever reason. I go to the grassy/bushy section of the track and start to dry heave, followed by full on puking and throwing up the entire contents of my stomach. I still have no clue what caused this.
I lost all my calories and felt like crap. Eating is paramount to an ultra runner, there are 6 hours left in this race. I have to keep eating. Maybe had there been an hour left I wouldn’t have worried about it, but 6 hours is a long time to burn energy and not refuel. I decide to stop for a bit and see if my stomach will calm down. I keep feeling like I need to throw up.
Ryan still has a tent up that he uses to change or when his crew needs a nap. I climb in there after having sat for a bit and take a nap. The hope is my stomach will calm down. After an hour of resting Brandon and Betsy talk me into going back out and start moving around the track. My stomach is still killing me, and mentally, I’ve lost all fight and motivation. After 19 hours of feeling off, then throwing up and having an upset stomach I have no desire to go on.
We tried ginger, flat coke and Pepto-Bismol to get my stomach to settle, all in the hopes I can take in calories again. I walk the track for about five laps hoping to feel better. My pace at this point was a 10-minute 400 meter. That’s a 40-minute mile — not good. Any faster and I wanted to toss my cookies again. After the five laps at this pace, having not eating for a few hours and mentally being beaten I call the race at hour 20. I’m miserable, was off my goal and can’t eat. The choice was to suffer for another 4 hours, or call it take a shower and try to sleep. The hotel sounded way better then suffering the rest of the night.
I fell way short of my goal and didn’t even finish the race. I’ve run more than 20 hours and more then 91 miles on many occasions. I’m a strong runner, but it just wasn’t my day. It took some coming to terms with another failure at this course, but it’s what happened, so I have to accept it. It was my choice to stop. I still feel it was the right decision, but it’s an embarrassing decision to make.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me I did great, was a stud for doing what I did in the time I did, I ran 91 miles … I get it. However, I’m a much better runner then that performance. It’s all relative. I’m an ultra runner — this is what I do. I keep running no matter what, but I didn’t that day. It was the right call, but a hard one to accept still. I’ll get there, just need some time between me and the race. That’s part of the reason I’ve waited a few weeks to write this recap. I needed time away from the race to accept it.
I still took third place in the race, which isn’t too shabby for not having run the last 6 hours. I am happy with the pace I was setting and the effort I put into the race until the end. Track ultras are a different beast. It’s a hard race to compete in. I don’t know if I’m going to go back next year or not. Still thinking about that and probably won’t make a decision until May or June about trying to finish this race a third time. Part of me wants to go back and prove to the track I can beat it, but part of me wants to move on and do an ultra I’ve never done before. Go somewhere new next fall and ultra run there. We’ll see.
Quincy native and friend of the Get Out Blog Jared Busen will be running in the Badgerland 24-Hour Track Ultra Marathon this Saturday in Germantown, Wis.
Jared hopes to complete 130 miles of running in 24 straight hours. He has raised more than $3,000 for the Wounded Warriors Project for this event.
You can follow Jared’s progress by checking his Twitter feed which can be found at twitter.com/#!/runhappens and also displays on his website www.runhappens.com. If you would like to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project, please visit tinyurl.com/WWPJaredBusen.
Post race, Jared will be writing a recap of the experience and I’ll be sure to post it for the Get Out blog. College football on TV and an Ultra Runner on my computer seems like a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
In a previous post, I introduced you to Ultra-Runner Jared Busen. Jared completed a 150-mile race this May, and he wrote a wonderful breakdown of the run to share with the readers of the “Get Out” blog. For more race recaps, gear reviews, photos, and videos from Jared, please visit his website: www.runhappens.com.
Jared is currently training for the Badgerland 24-Hour Track Ultra-Marathon and hopes to complete 130-plus miles. He is running this race in support of the Wounded Warrior Project and has set a goal of raising $5,000 to support our military heroes. Please consider making a donation — either a one-time amount or by-the-mile — for this honorable cause. Visit http://tinyurl.com/WWPJaredBusen to make a donation or for more information.
By Jared Busen:
May 6, 2011, was my 150-mile run. I enjoyed it immensely. I finished first overall, struggled at some points but dealt with it all as it came and kept knocking the miles down. Official time is 50h09m54s.
The trail is a 10-mile loop repeated 15 times with 2,400 feet of elevation change per loop. This means that running 150 miles gets you 36,000 feet of elevation change. The trail is set up for mountain biking and is a mixture of old logging roads, single track, switchbacks, massive ascends and descends and everything else you want a trail to have. Without a doubt, the toughest course I have ever run on.
There was an aid station at the 0/10 or Start/Finish as well as one at the 5.5-mile mark where crew could meet up with you. My brother volunteered to come out and crew for this race. He met me each time I hit 5.5 or finished a loop out. We had already discussed nutrition, what I’ll need each time we see each other before the race even started as well as what I’d like next time I see him during the race. He did an amazing job as crew and I had no issues, things went smoothly with him.
Below I’ll try my best to recount what each loop was like as well as give my official split (h:mm).
This was the first loop, and it was used to figure the trail out. I learned fast thanks to several steep and long climbs as well as descends that my quads will fall off if I run each of them. I ran some of the hills as well as some of the really technical sections of the trail on this loop, that I never did again. This was my fastest loop and I should have backed off more.
Nothing special on this loop. Just backed of a bit, but not enough, and knocked out one more loop.
Again, tried to slow the pace down knowing I was going too fast. I had a hard time backing off cause I really was running very easy. Big thing here was that at mile 25.5 (aid station) I took the first position. I didn’t want this that early in the run, but it happened so I took it and hoped the pressure of keeping it didn’t get to me. At the end of this loop, my buddy Darrin caught up to me who I hadn’t seen since last September at the 24-hour track run.
30-40 2:20 Pacer – Darrin
Darrin was there as part of the 100-mile crew. Which means that he was officially in the 100-mile race but not competing. His job was to pace for Ryan Dexter, another friend of mine. Ryan is the type of ultra runner I hope to become someday but probably never will. During the course of the weekend, Darrin had to get a total of 100-miles in so it would count as a finish. He got some in on Thursday, some on Friday and the rest on Saturday. Darrin was kind enough to run a loop with me here.
40-50 2:41 Pacer – Darrin
Darrin decided to hang with me again, he helped me pull around and finish one-third of my race. Fifty miles knocked out in just 11 hours; that was too fast and I ended up paying for this later.
50-60 2:59 Pacer — Darrin
Darin ran with me again on this loop until about mile 56, then he took off to finish the loop out quicker then I was going to. He needed to pace Ryan on his next loop, and Ryan was still knocking out low 2-hour splits so Darrin wanted some rest. This loop was to be my last one finished in daylight on Friday.
The plan was during the night — when the running is so much slower because you just can’t see the trail as well — to run two to three easy laps during the night. The intent was to recover and go easy ’til the sun came up then go back at it a little quicker. I had started to hit a wall already so I was happy to have the easy running for a while.
70-80 3:46 Pacer — Justin (brother)
Justin decided to join me for this loop. It was his first time running with a headlamp, seemed like he enjoyed it. Also his first time seeing the course; too bad it was at night, so he didn’t get to see it. I was still up against a wall and was beating my head against it to break through.
80-90 3:50 Pacer — Justin
Justin went out again on this loop. The sun was just coming up so we started with the headlamps but turned them off within a mile or so. The first few miles of this I kept falling asleep while I was running. This was new to me — didn’t want it to be happening, but it was. I was really struggling at this point. But we made it around and still knocked out some miles.
I ran solo for this loop. I was still in the lead and had gained a lot by running all night. The other 150ers had gotten in some sleep in the night. I kept racking up miles while they laid there. Now, they were up and they all passed me, were looking great and I was struggling just to walk. I realized that I can’t break through this wall I’ve been fighting with the past 30-plus miles. At mile 95.5, I told Justin to talk to the Race Director and find me a place to sleep for a bit. Miles 98-100, I started to hallucinate. I kept seeing people behind the trees peeking out and staring at me. One guy would peak out, take a picture and duck back behind the tree. Another was a married couple and the husband would peak out one side of the tree, the wife the other. I knew that they weren’t real, but I was out of it enough that I still stopped over and over trying to get a better look at them. I finally made it in and finished 100 miles in about 30 hours.
100-110 5:15 Pacer — Mindy
Got an hour and a half nap here which is why the above split is so long. Justin woke me up and got me going. Ryan’s crew chief knew me and came over with Justin to give me a heart-to-heart on digging down and seeing what you are made of. It’s all stuff I know, but is always good to hear. Justin had set up a pacer for me, Mindy. I already knew her from Ryan’s crew and she had crewed for me in the past back when I first met Ryan and his crew. She ran this lap with me, and I think the run time was in the low 3 hours. The nap helped a ton, and I felt like a new man. I was running strong again.
110-120 3:24 Pacer — Justin
Justin ran this one with me, giving him 30 miles so far where before his longest run was a marathon. This lap went well, and we were both excited there were only 30 miles left in the race. We decided I’d take a 45-minute nap, when we made it back to the start finish, with the hope of knocking out the last 30 in one shot.
The nap is included in this so the split is long. After another quick nap, I was running good again and knocking out the miles pretty easy. The sun had gone down at the start of this lap, so it was back to headlamp running.
130-140 3:32 Pacer — Brian
Justin hooked me up with another pacer for this lap. Brian was there as a volunteer and was kind enough to go out with me. We wanted someone to knock out a lap with me, keep the pace up if possible and just get more miles in. At about 137, I hit the wall hard. I had slowed down and was struggling to run. It was so frustrating to be about a half marathon out and start to hurt again. I wanted to fall asleep so bad, I kept fighting it and never did but I wanted to. At mile 139, I had another hallucination. This time, I saw a cowboy leaning against a tree on my side, not peeking out behind. He looked at me, tipped his hat and gave an odd smile. He scared me and I really don’t know why. It was still night so I should not have seen detail but I was able to. Again, I knew it was a hallucination, but I was out of it enough that it felt real.
140-150 3:42 Pacer — Justin
Since I had a hallucination I went down for about a 30-minute nap before going out on the last loop. I was a few hours up on the second place guy so I took advantage of that and slept for a bit. Justin woke me and we started moving. I was really stiff to begin with, and it took a few miles to limber up. A few miles from the finish, I knew I was going to make it and could smell the finish line. I started to run more and more, and run faster and faster. The last two miles was all running, up hill, down hill, whatever I attacked it. Justin kept cheering me on and running with me. I’ve run so many miles in my life that my body doesn’t need to be told what to do. I ignored the previous 148 miles of running and just took off. We had a beautiful all out sprint to the finish. Bringing home first place in a time of 50:09:54.
Luckily Ryan Dexter happened to be at the finish line (after CRUSHING the 200-mile race) and was able to see me finish. I had caught his finish the night before, but since I was still in my race, I had to keep moving and didn’t have a chance to talk. I was able to shoot the breeze with him for a bit before he headed home. Justin and I made it over to a local B&B, had showers, a huge breakfast and a 7-hour nap.
This was a hard race, and it broke me off at one point. However, both Justin and I reacted correctly and dealt with it instead of giving up or wishing for something different. I have already signed up for this race in 2012. I can’t wait to go back. Now that I’ve done it, I know how to train so I can rock a good time next year.
Thanks to Justin for his phenomenal support, I was able to cover the distance. Big props to Ryan Dexter’s crew for throwing us a lot of support as well. The ultra running community is amazing cause everyone takes care of each other.