Monday, January 13, 2014

Yes, I Am a Runner

I'm a runner. I didn't start running until a little over seven years ago. And after all this time, it still feels a little awkward to just come out and say it. Mostly because I'm a wimpy runner. I walk uphill, mostly run on flat land, and manage to pick up the pace on downhills. I'm still slow though.

Cathy and Zan - Famous Idaho Potato Start
Despite the humble way I get those miles in, it's a fact. I do run. I've done numerous races – 5Ks, 10Ks, and half marathons. Thirteen miles is about my comfort level for an organized run. It forces me to train, but it's not so daunting it makes me nervous.

I've run several half-marathons more than once, including Zeitgeist, which is a fun race on rolling hills, all of it paved. And the Famous Idaho Potato run, again all on paved roads or paths, but it's a flat course mostly by the river on the Boise Greenbelt, which makes it a wonderful run. 

The most challenging one has been the Race to Robie Creek, starting at 2725 feet, climbing 8.5 miles to 4797 feet, then dropping for the next 5 miles to 3065 feet. After the first mile, when we start our big climb, I always regret signing up, but I get over it by the time I make it, wheezing and gasping, to the summit. 

The only marathon race I've run was a beautiful 26.2 miles in Susanville, California, the Bizz Johnson Run. The entire course was on trails, first carved out from an old railroad trail, then on a lovely path that meandered along an awesome river. It was an easy course for a marathon, but was a tough one for me because of the distance.

It was true for me what they said about hitting the wall. Around mile 22 or 23, I just lost it. Everything in my body that could feel, hurt. My stomach decided to treat me to gastrointestinal problems. I was exhausted and discouraged, but on I trudged.

Finish Line at Bizz Johnson Marathon
The nice thing about these types of races are the people. The volunteers, race directors, and especially other runners. One runner, Manny from Texas, ended up walking and slowly running with me the last few miles, encouraging me, and telling me I would get the first sip of the ice cold beer his friends had waiting for him at the finish line. He even hung back a second so I could run across the finish before him. When I realized I had made it and completed my first marathon, I burst into tears. It was so awesome!

Finish Line at the Buffalo Run
The next big challenge for me was the Buffalo Run on Antelope Island in Utah. I chose the 32 mile option – a 50k ultra-marathon. Although I thought I had trained sufficiently, this one totally wiped me out. My "run" across the finish line was more like a stagger. My feet were killing me, I could barely move. But I did it.

I am signed up for one more ultra-marathon in June – this one is the Bryce Canyon Ultra, and again I'm running the 50k. Doesn't this look spectacular? It should be an amazing experience, with the scenery along the trail. I'm sure initially I'll wonder why in the world I would subject myself to this torture. Until I start running past the breathtaking scenery, and then again when I make it to the finish line, that is. It does have a nine hour cutoff though, and I almost hit that with my previous ultra. I guess I better start training in earnest now.

Thanks Steve Moore!

I'll be posting a few pictures in June. Hopefully none that look like this...

1 comment:

  1. OMG! MY comfort level is 13 blocks, not 13 miles :-) I had no idea you did this, and I'm in complete awe. Years ago, I did a number of 20 mile charity walks... but that was years ago, and it was walks not runs. Yes, the scenery on your next venture looks gorgeous -- but I would think it would look equally gorgeous from the car! Good luck.