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.
First marathon: 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. At the time it was the largest race of its kind with about 400-500 participants. It was also on trails that I had been training 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 and could have gone a bit faster. Yes, I was sore and tired but it was not as bad as expected.
Ultra 2 Ice Age Trail 50 – 1999
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. 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
Over the next 15 years or so I biked a lot. To get around and for fun. My neighborhood in Milwaukee had a 24-hour bike race (ride) and I decided I would give it a try. I was not planning on doing the entire ride but ended up doing the just under 5-mile loop 46 times. I decided at that moment I would train to try to win the next year
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. I also did the entire race in a red tutu.
After the 2010 bike race, 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 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.
Ironman Distance Triathalon
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 in 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 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. 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 order 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.
10-24 hour and Multi-Day workouts
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.