Monday, February 11, 2008

First Ultra!

2008 Psycho WyCo "Run Toto, Run" 50K Trail Run

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit."

- George Sheehan

[Here's my race report, which I wrote and emailed to the mn-drs list]

Did someone say something about a "slippery slope" ??**

That comment played out in a couple different ways this past weekend. If you've read the other Psycho Wyco race reports, you know there was a lot of mud, resulting in lots of slipping and sliding. Every lap got harder as more and more of the loop turned to mud. On the 3rd lap, I must've said "This is ridiculous" (and different variations of that phrase) about 1000 times. But I'm getting ahead of myself... it's the other slippery slope that put me on that 3rd lap in the first place.

My first official 50K was going to be Chippewa Moraine on March 12th ( - now that'll be my second! I talked myself into the 20 mile run at Psycho Wyco figuring it'd be a great training run and because of the "if you bite off more than you can chew" feature -- "If you are registered for one of the longer distances and want to drop out a loop (or two) short, you can do so and
still get a finisher's medal". It dawned on me that if you can drop a loop, then you can probably add a loop as well. I figured I'd try to make the 20, and if it was too tough at least I should be able to get the 10 mile medal -- but of course I couldn't get rid of that nagging thought about adding a loop if everything was going well.

So now in hindsight I feel like I was hit with a 1,2 punch by a couple of the other MN runners. At the beginning of the race I hooked up with Londell, and in true ultrarunner form he said I should do the 50K. Thanks, Londell... that nagging thought took over and I spent the next 6 miles thinking about it. :) The 2nd half of the loop is tougher than the first, so eventually that thought faded into the background a bit. But after the first loop I asked race director Bad Ben if a runner could add a loop, and he said yes. So I spent the first half of the 2nd loop telling myself I should go for it. I knew the real decision would be made towards the end of loop 2. Well, what do you know... towards the end of loop 2 I hooked up with Les. And in true ultrarunner form he said I should do the 50K. Thanks, Les... that 2nd punch basically clinched it.

So you veterans, are all of us newbies so gullible?? :) I guess when we like what we see in other runners and we're trying to do some of the same things they've done, it doesn't take a lot to help us along. Even if it goes against common sense. So, loop number 3 - bumping up to the 50K: I'd like to say I loved every slippery step of it... but instead I'll just say (to myself), "Welcome to trail running". Overall the race was great and I enjoyed most of it. I figure I've learned a little bit about working through the low points of a long run; and about finishing what I've started even when I'm thinking "This is ridiculous". But you know how the low points seem to fade away... already about all I can remember is: At the end of a long day, I completed my first 50K Ultra... and I'm happy about that!

'Thank You' to Bad Ben and everyone associated with this race -- it's a top-notch event all around!
And, 'Congratulations' to all the runners.... especially those from MN in whatever race you completed!!

Wayne Nelson
Rochester MN

** Larry Pederson talking about new trail runners being pulled into the longer/ultra events: "...It's a long slippery slope they have begun to
slide down...and there's not much to grab onto along the way to slow you
down." Sept 2007