How do you respond? Your girlfriend comes to you on Wednesday and says I want to do a 50 mile race in Wisconsin this weekend?
"Why?", I asked with prejudiced: you are somewhat injured, just raced a PR marathon in Boston three weeks ago, another near-PR half marathon and age group win last weekend, you haven't been training, blah, blah. She gave me some kind of long-winded reply about wanting to experience an ultra before going to help Danni at the Western States 100 race. I quickly backed off any kind of reasoning out of this.
The balance of the week consisted of Cheryl plugging through her final exams and diligently preparing all of her gear for the race. I noticed bags appearing in a line one by one in the guest bedroom--at least the treadmill is getting good use.
Sidenote: she had obviously been planning this for longer than what she led on to me. I noticed the race maps she printed for me had dates of 3/15. She won't know I know this until she reads this post. She'll have to do a better job of covering up next time. Bygones.
An adventurous Friday afternoon of driving with bad directions from Google Maps got us to Old World Wisconsin in the Kettle Moraine state forest only minutes before packet pickup closed on Friday night. After which we made a few wrong turns on our way to Janesville where the only decent food we could find was Olive Garden, and we capped off the day falling asleep with the dogs at the Motel 6 hostel.
Less than six hours later, we were back on the road to the 6:00 a.m. race start.
It was fairly low key atmosphere at the start, contrasted with a lot of the road races and triathlons we have been to. But the weather was perfect and there was just a general feeling that 50 miles was accomplishable--all of the people were over the top nice.
Before the race, Cheryl gave me several detailed maps in true-to-Cheryl-overplanning-detail-form of all of the aid stations and instructions that she would make a decision about whether or not to finish first at mile 30, then 37 and so on. I quietly thought, rubbish. She's going to finish this thing--she'll wake up Sunday really disappointed if she doesn't (and, further, she could've run 30 miles at home...she's gonna finish this thing).
I'll spare you the details of the race. In summary, she did great. She mentioned wanting to drop at 37. Gretchen and Gracie, corrected her, got her to down some electrolytes, shared some of their potato chips and got her back on the trail.
More pictures on Flickr.
She finished! 15th woman and 2nd in her age group.
I have to say, Cheryl's performance made the entire weekend worth it. It was fun. Thanks. Happy dog mom's day!
Many thanks to Adrian and Samone. You can see Adrian in several of the photographs with Cheryl. He's from Chicago and was using this race to prepare for his 100 mile races later this year. He really helped Cheryl through the race.
Further, congratulations to the race director and crew. They did a really nice job. All the peeps were great.
What a nice weekend. Well, except for this rain back here in Chicago.