Sunday, August 21, 2011

Double Digits For Me & Ben's Big Run

Highlights For The Week

Wednesday morning came too soon, so I blew off my run until the evening. I should have forced myself out of bed when the temperature was much cooler. That evening I was able to get my three miles in with no real issues. I was up by 4:30 am on Thursday morning so I could run with the group from the store. My legs were pretty stiff. I think they were complaining about an evening run followed by a morning run. I joined the Jon, Erin, Connie, and Jerry for a five mile loop. John joined us about halfway through. I had not run with Jerry or John before, so it was nice meeting some new people. We ran at a pretty easy pace and made it back to the store in plenty of time for me to get back home, shower, and get ready for work. I knew I had a fourteen hour workday ahead, but this was a fantastic way to start the morning!

Today I finally got my long run back into double digits with an eleven mile run. WOO HOO! The weather was in the mid-fifties with only a slight breeze which was great. My legs were quite stiff again, and I ran the first three miles very slowly. It felt like I was moving faster than what my Garmin showed my pace to be. I soon got in the groove and was able to complete each following mile a little faster than the previous one. Now I'm starting to get excited about the FM Mini-marathon in October.

Ben's Big Run

Minot, ND has experienced catastrophic flooding this year. The company Lynette and I work for has a branch office out there, and we have heard firsthand accounts of the unbelievable damage done by the flooding. Large areas of the city are completely wiped out and look like something from a post-apocalyptic movie. The floodwater overflowed the banks of some sewage ponds so the whole town is blanketed by an unbearable odor.

There have been different kinds of fund raising events to help these people. Ben Clark, a straight A student at North Dakota State University, grew up in Minot and started running across North Dakota in an effort to raise money for the Minot Area Flood Recovery Fund. He decided to take on this challenge only two weeks ago while on a fishing trip. His journey started last Sunday in Beach, North Dakota and ended this morning in Fargo. I'm not sure of the exact distance, but I know it is just over 360 miles! He averaged around 50 miles/day and slept very little. Yesterday's three hour nap was the longest sleep he had all week.

He had some people "crewing" for him. His dad was with him at the start, and by Wednesday my friend Rick had driven "Eunice" (his RV) to New Salem and joined the quest. Rick kept posting updates on his blog that hinted at the enormity of this challenge. Apparently many roads all across the state were closed due to flooding. This resulted in detours and a stuck vehicle. I can't begin to imagine what Ben went through.

Ben at the finish of his 360+ mile run!

Ben is not new to extreme challenges. Just a few weeks ago he became the youngest person to finish the Badwater Ultra-marathon. This 135 mile race starts on the floor of Death Valley and ascends to the top of Mt. Whitney at an elevation of 8,360 feet. He said the conditions were "otherworldly." This race is justifiably called the toughest foot race on earth. Something that really put all of this into perspective for me was the realization that in these two events Ben had run nearly as many miles as I've run all year. WOW!!!

I had not met Ben before this morning. He is a soft spoken, unassuming young man. When asked by reporters what his next race would be, he listed several races ranging from 150 miles to 333 miles. But his first priority is to get ready for school which starts tomorrow.

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