After the Badger 100, my plan was to rest, recover and run Arkansas Traveler 100 a month or so later. I have wanted to do that race for years, but it never fit into my schedule. I was bummed after Badger to have some lingering foot / achilles issues that wouldn't let me run. When I had to withdraw from Arkansas Traveler, it put me into a bit of a running funk. If I tried to run, it hurt. If I took weeks off, it hurt. Running was evolving from a stress reliever to a stress inducer, so I stopped. For a solid 4 months, I have not made a concerted effort to run, and I can't say that I have hated it.
|Running my first 50 miler at the Rocky Raccoon 50 in Feb 2010.|
I began trail and ultra running in 2009, and ran my first official ultra - Rocky Raccoon 50 miler in Feb 2010. A few times since, in my 13 year ultrarunning life, I have reached a point of deciding to completely leave running behind (but I have always kept a fresh pair of running shoes in the closet - just in case). It was too much work, took too much time - running up to 15 - 17 hours a week at peak 100 miler training - and, the excuse that is beginning to creep in - I am getting too old for this shit. I am not one to just run for fitness. I am motivated by big goals, and without them, the desire to get out of bed when it is early and freezing cold is just not there.
|Finishing the Badger 100 in July 2021.|
But, I keep getting drawn back. The reason that I am so drawn to running is its simplicity. It is the most basic and oldest form of exercise. Rarely do we need to run for our safety or to catch our food now, but that primal urge is still there. Humans are made for long distance running and I think once you experience it, it becomes a part of who you are.
Recently I got word that a dear ultra running friend of mine, whom I met during my first 50 miler, is starting his own 100 miler that will be accessible to runners with mobility issues. Yes, people run 100's of miles with a stroller (looks like a walker, but made for running). My friend's name is Will Sprouse and he is on the mend from a major stroke. Will has run MANY 100 milers with health issues, and has completed 100 milers since the stroke that had the doctors saying he would never walk again. Tell him he can't do something. I dare you.
|Will, after finishing the Red Dirt Ultra 100 miler.|
So, when registration opens for the Iron Will 100 miler on Christmas Day, I will be buying myself my Christmas present and signing up. He is offering shorter distances as well, but out of sheer respect for Will and what he has overcome in his life, I will be training for and running the 100 miler. I don't remember ever visiting Kansas, and I can't think of a better reason than this to get me there.
As soon as registration opens, I will share the link, but if you are a fellow ultra runner, you know where to look.
Here's to a happy, healthy holiday season, and new goals for 2022!