Last year, I was working the finish line food tables at the 2013 Trail Marathon Weekend when a runner walked up. Shuffled, really. He looked like crap – tired, stiff, pale, and haggard. I could have killed him with a sneeze. But he was wearing TWO medals.
“What’s that all about?” I asked, pointing to them.
“The No Wimps Challenge,” he said. “I did the half marathon on Saturday, and the 50K today.”
“That’s crazy,” I told him. I’d run the 5-mile Road Ends race that morning, and just those five miles on the trails had trashed me good. But by some miracle I’d finished in the top 10 overall, and I’d been wondering how the hell I was going to top that.
The runner got some food and staggered off, and left me there in amazement. Two long runs back to back on those trails. That was nuts. Totally insane. Impossible.
I had to have those medals.
Fast forward to April 26, 2014. Two weeks after running myself ragged at the Martian half marathon, I’m in the starting chute to run the half on the Potawatomi Trails. And 24 hours later, I’d be in that same starting chute for the 50K. No Wimps Challenge, here I come.
I’d lost count of how many people had called me crazy for signing up for this. Coach Marie, in particular, said it early and often. But she didn’t say no. (I’m sure she knew saying no was futile.) So we worked out a strategy – go easy on Saturday, then rock it out Sunday.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Pinckney Potawatomi trails, let me set the stage a little. Known affectionately (term used loosely) as “the Poto” (Paw-toh), they snake through the woods around Silver Lake, Pinckney, and Hell and are used for hiking, mountain biking, and running. Running Fit holds several races each year on the Poto, with the Trail Marathon being their oldest event.
The path is often single track (only wide enough for one bike or hiker at one time) and features challenging uphills and downhills, roots, stones, and, on wet days, fields of thick, sticky mud (Run Woodstock 2012). I’d been looking forward to it all winter.
Up next: Some of my memorable moments from the weekend, and how well my strategy worked out.