It Gets Me Thinking

Running 12 miles allows you plenty of time to think.  I have learned that is one thing I like about running.  It gives me a chance to focus, gather my thoughts, and think.  My life is so hectic right now it is ridiculous.  I am in my last semester of grad school, I work full-time, my wife works full-time, we have one daughter and another child that will be here in about one month and this is actually less hectic than two months ago.  I am not saying this so you will feel sorry for me, I am sure your life is just as hectic as mine.  I really don’t need one more thing to add to my schedule but running is different.

This past weekend we organized a benefit walk to raise money for my wife’s father who was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  I decided that I would get up early and do my long run there.  Talk about getting you thinking.  I am running for two hours early in the morning on the way to a cancer walk.  This run helped me realize just how blessed I am.  My wife is the most understanding woman I know.  She is always supportive of me even though she may not always understand why a person would run 12 miles.  She is a hard worker, a loving mother, a loving wife, and probably one of the strongest people I know.  I am blessed because I have an awesome daughter (and another on the way) that looks up to me and is pretty active.  She wants to run with me and ride her bike.  I don’t want her to lose that and spend her time in front of the TV.  I am blessed because I am able to run 12 miles.

I run and cycle because I am a lazy person.  If I didn’t set these goals for myself then I would spend most of my time eating junk food and watching TV (at least that is what I did a lot of for the last 10 years).  I run because I want to have a happy and healthy family.  I run because I can.

Why I Run

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Wakarusa Off-Road Challenge

Well, its done.  I have completed my first “Adventure” race and let me say that it was one of the most fun competitions I have ever participated in.  The weather that day was absolutely perfect.  It was 70 when the race started and 85 at noon.

That day started pretty early for me.  Lawrence, KS is about an hour from me and I had to pick up my team-mate.  I woke up about 5:00am.  I was pretty excited about the race but I had slept pretty well.  We loaded our bikes ate some food and headed on our way.

Car loaded and ready to go

The race takes place on the Lawrence river trails along the Kansas River.  We registered and set up our gear in the grassy transition are.  Transition AreaNow it was time to wait……..

Run 2.2 Miles

The first mile on the run was on the flat levy trail made of crushed gravel.  My team lined up towards the back.  I always struggle with the start of long races because my adrenaline is pumping so hard.  I was a sprinter in High School so I have to suppress that need to take off as fast as I can.  We were passing quite a few people but seemed to be running at a comfortable pace.  After a mile the trail turns onto the single track which has small undulations and quick turns.  This was so much fun running on this.  Our main goal was to beat some friends of ours who were about 10 years older than us.  During this run the were a little bit ahead of us.  I tried to keep them in my sights and not let them get too far ahead.

Split:  20:00

Mountain Bike 17.2 Miles

The transition to the mountain bike was slower than I would have liked it to be.  I was holding my teammate up through part of this.  I really didn’t practice the transition and could see the benefits of that now.  We led out on the flat levy trail again for the first 4 miles.  We once again passed a few people but not many since I was running a single speed.  Once we turned onto the single track that was were the real action started.  It felt like we were flying through these trails.  I will say that these are some of the fastest trails I have ridden.  I was happy with my decision to run a single speed with a 2:1 gear ratio.  I was able to tear through these trails on that machine.  The hardest part about this leg was passing people.  The trails were narrow, most people would be curtious when you asked for a pass but there were some that would not.  This caused some pretty big frustrations, especially when they completely stop on an uphill or at the bottom of a blind turn.  This was the one drawback to my bike.  I was like a diesel truck, it took me a while to get back up to speed, especially uphill.  My teammate was really killing this part.  He was taking corners faster than I could on my 29er, it was great to have someone pushing me like that.

Split: 86:00

Paddling 4.2 Miles

I was pretty happy with this transition.  I threw off my shoes, put on my running shoes, grabbed a drink and we were off to the water. This section we did not train for at all.  I was initially pretty worried about how we would do.  The river was calm.  We were able to get into a decent rhythm and just dug in and went.  We were passed by one team during this section but did not let anyone else catch us.  My arms were burning but we didn’t let up.  I was really proud of our performance here, especially for no training.

Split:  49:00

Run 4.1 Miles

Here is where things really mattered.  We have already put in about 2.5 hours of physical activity. Do we have what it takes to push out a 4 mile trail run?  My team-mate and I downed some GU Roctane and headed out on the trail.  My legs were definitely tight from sitting in the canoe for almost an hour.  After about a half mile they finally loosened up and things felt good.  We were passed by two teams but that would be it.  We found a guy running by himself and paced off of him for a few miles.  I was feeling pretty good buy my teammate was struggling.  His body was definitely ready to be done.  I applaud him greatly because he did not stop and pushed the 4 miles out (I also wouldn’t let him stop).  I am pretty sure I lied to him at least a dozen times  telling him we are almost there.  We broke out of the trees and headed for the finish line.

Split:  43:00

The Finish Line

 

Our total time was 3 hrs and 18 minutes.  We finished 16th out of 56 teams.  All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the race and can’t wait until I do it again next year.  My teammate says he will never do it again….we will see about that.

Done

Congrats to everyone who participated in the race!  What an awesome experience.  Check out a video put together by http://www.thedirtieduckie.com/ whom I met afterwards.

 

Wakarusa Off Road Challenge 2011 Results

Up Next:  Kansas City Half Marathon