I love endurance sports. Primarily long-distance running and biking.
Over the last 25 years, I have enjoyed running on the cross-country team in high school and Collage, running marathons, ultra marathons, triathlon and long-distance bike rides and races. I did my first non-competition marathon at 17 and have been enjoying distance events ever since. Unfortunately, I was not always the smartest runner and injured my knee by age 22. This basically stopped me from running until about age 38 when I was able to pick it up again. Lucky I was able to bike and do elliptical workouts at the gym with much less stress and enjoy these just as much.
My first marathon was at 17 and took place in Manitowoc and Two Rivers. I simply expanded on my 18-mile run. It was a Saturday morning in the spring and I started early. It was not easy and I did walk about a mile of it near the end. I do not remember the time but it was over 4 hours. I also remember having to go to Tennis practice in the afternoon. That was not an easy practice.
Cross-country team: In college, I ran for the UW Whitewater Cross-Country team. I was not the best runner but was on varsity my freshman and sophomore years (the only two years I ran on the team) and did help our school make it to the national championships my sophomore year.
Training for ultras: I decided to race in the local 50-mile ultra marathon my junior year of college. It was at the time the largest race of its kind with about 400-500 participants. It was also on trails that I already trained on near my university. These were my trials and I loved them. I first learned about this race after hiking on the trails while the race was going on and decided that I would try to run it the next year. It was the Ice Age Trail 50-mile race. I started training my junior year by running a marathon or more each week the entire semester on Saturday mornings. I also did one 12 miles run each week around Wednesday, took one day off of running and one day where I swam and lifted weights. I also ran one 50 mile practice around a track. I still have the paper I used to track laps. 3 running and one walk over the entire 9+ hours it took me.
Ultra 1 Ice Age Trail 50 – 1998
My first official ultra was a lot of fun. I was one of the youngest runners and found out that ultra races are more popular for older runners, Not 21-year-olds. I had plenty of training could have gone a bit faster. Yes, I was sore and tired but it was not as bad as expected.
The next year I ran again but with much less training. Same race, a bit warmer of a day and about the same time as the year before.
I continued to run over the next summer and fall but ended up getting injured in the winter. Unfortunately, running was such an important part of my life that I continued to run on a weak knee and eventually it hurt too much. This was the end of my running for the foreseeable future. Luckily I could still bike and that became one of the ways I used up my extra energy.
RW24 2009 – 24-hour urban bike race
RW24 2010 – 24-hour urban bike race
The next year I was fully ready with a number of 100 and 150-mile rides under my belt and a full year of training. I did great and ended up tying for second place. I was winning most of the race but ended up with 4 flat tires and a broken bike that forced me to change from my road bike to an old mountain bike for the last 4 or so hours. I had a blast but was definitely disappointed with the outcome none the less. And I also did the entire race in a red tutu.
It seems that after this my knee pain from the earlier running injury came back and I had to stop long distance riding again. I still used my bike to get around but no more long distance rides for me.
I moved to Colorado and fell in love with mountain biking. My knee had been feeling better and my good friend convinced me to get a mountain bike and give the trails a try. I feel in love instantly. I am lucky to live near a beautiful trail that allows me to get to the foothills near boulder colorado without getting on a street. How lucky am I to be this close to world-class mountain biking. Over the next few summers, I biked hundreds of miles on these trails. I did do an 85-mile mountain bike ride over about 12 hours on these trails.
At some point, I decided I wanted to do an Ironman. It had always been a dream of mine but with my running injury, it was out of the questions. I had been biking a lot as well as working out on the elliptical machine without a problem but running was not something I had tried for over 15 years. Well, I tried it out on the treadmill and was fine. I Must have strengthened my legs enough and was able to do it. So, of course I started running marathons to see if I could, and I could. Slow but I still could. And this opened me up to do an Ironman. Of course swimming was something else I had not done for years but luckily my apartment complex has a lap pool so I used this for practice. On a Saturday in September, I woke up early to try my first Ironman distance event. I did not follow the swim, bike, run but was just trying to get the distances in under the 17-hour time limit. I did it in 16:45 but that is more due to the fact that I did not push myself to go faster.
After the Ironman, I wanted to try a 100-mile run. In training for this, I did a number of 10 to 24 hours workouts that consisted of walking, running, elliptical and biking. I was not going for distance but just wanted to be moving the entire time. On a January winter day I decided to try to do a 100-mile walk run but after about 35 miles my blisters were too bad to make it possible. I must have not worn the correct socks for the weather. I ended up turning this into a 3-day 75-mile walk/run + 120-mile bike ride (outdoors in January on a mountain bike) and 3-hour rowing machine at the gym. I went until I could not go any longer. About 12 hours a day for three days, primarily in the cold. This was much harder than the Ironman but I still did not complete my goal of a 100-mile run/walk. This is something I would still like to do.
I am currently taking a break from long distance events but still get to bike to work every day, take the dog for long walks and bike to Boulder.