Marty Kanter-Cronin's Race Report: A Year of Running Dangerously...
I am now a repeat offender. I couldn’t say that last year, last month, or even last week. At some point in every running event for the last year I would get the question: “You done this one before?” and I would always answer “nope, never have, I’m just a rookie”. Everything was new, every race for me “first time” until I came to this year’s version of Dances With Dirt- Devils Lake. Last year, DWD was my first 50K, so what better way to celebrate my first year ultra running anniversary, than to do my first 50 mile race at DWD? In some ways I’d been here before, but in other ways, never been here before.
Before I get on to the DWD 50 mile, indulge me while I tally my personal past running year. OK, I can’t keep up with Brad and Julie, but it still looks like a lot to me.
1) July 2010 DWD 50K (6:43)
2) Sept 2010 North Face 50K (5:52)
3) Oct 2010 Glacial 50K (5:43)
4) Nov 2010 Owen Putnam 50K (6:34)
5) Dec 2010 Pine Mountain 40 Mile (9:23)
6) Mar 2011 Clinton Lake 30 (DNF)
7) April 2011 Chippewa 50K (6:11)
8) May 2011 Ice Age 50 (DNF)
9) May 2011 Mary’s Most Excellent 50 mile ( Fat Ass, 27 miles)
10) June 2011 Kettle 100 (Pacing Angela, 47 miles)
11) June 2011 Keyes Peak 50K (6:10)
12) July 2011 DWD 50 Mile (12:08)
So the DWD run. It’s a beautiful course at Devils Lake, with some significant climbs sprinkled throughout including a first/last loop at Devils Head Resort on the main ski hill. Both bluffs (east and west) are climbed twice as well. Total race elevation gain/loss is listed at around 16,000, with that first/last loop at almost 1000 feet of climb and 1000 feet of descent each time. And on.
Really, I could go on about the course, the hills the heat, the crossing paths with my running family from LPTR, but will you even remember it? Or like reading an article from a magazine, will you forget it right away? I have the memory, the warmth of it in my hands, but I can’t transfer that feel to you, no matter how hard I try. Like a vacation snapshot of a landscape; you try to capture that feeling in it, but it’s just so two dimensional.
So the race: Many of you were there, so you know. For those of you who were not there, do this race, at least once. It’s well run, its fun, its hard, its hot, its hilly. It’s beautiful, simply.
The great thing about this race, and many of the races listed above too, was not my time, or place (I’m very average), but the fact that the experience was shared with so many LPTR folks. Running is a solitary sport, but paradoxically still a very shared experience.
Thanks so much to Hans, Jose, Melinda, Jodie, Julie, Sam, Ty, Krishna, Dave, Chris, Bruce, Annie, Mike, and especially Marcel for all his advice. It was so very cool to cross paths with so many of you 50/50 folks at that 2 mile down and back Burma Road section; It meant a LOT to me to see so many of you at the finish when I came in. And yes, I felt as good as I looked. It felt very very good.
Up above, is a list of races I did in the past year. But, what’s missing there is an entry. Between the 1 and the 2, that’s when I joined LPTR and, was invited to Angela’s 50th Birthday party. The LPTR crew was running a Fat Ass 50K organized by Kevin (I only ran 20). Until that point, I didn’t really know what was possible, hadn’t even dreamt what the body and mind are capable of. A lot of folks here showed me that my mental limitation, my thoughts that two long races a year were all I could do, This was all wrong. I listened. I watched. I was amazed at how far people pushed themselves.
Pushing. Ultra running, it can be dangerous. It can push you to your edges, with a view to your own mettle. When you sit right down in the middle of yourself, you hardly ever have a comfortable chair. This. I am out there, looking for that exact thing, waiting for it. I’ve had it at every race I’ve done. At DWD, I had a two mile stretch at 40 miles where edema was setting into my hands, I was suffering in the prairie heat, my stomach was turning and I couldn’t eat or drink. I had to walk about a mile and a half. I know its dangerous, it’s the edge. Life is a fine balance that’s easily pushed one way - out there. As Kurt Vonnegut once said: “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.”
Oy. What a year.
And in one short year, I did a lot more than I thought possible, ran dangerously close to the edge, many times. I also made it to 50 miles. Wow. So here’s to my first 50 miler, LPTR gang, I wouldn’t have done it without you. Cheers.
Report from Annie Weiss...