Congrats to the craziest of runners

  • This was printed in July of 2013 in The Madera Tribune, a newspaper in Madera, California. This was the tenth installment of my weekly column, Mind Over Miles.

Congratulations to Oswaldo Lopez for completing the toughest foot race in the world, the

135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, for the fifth year in a row. Lopez, 41, came in third

place this year, with a time of 25 hours, 27 minutes and 3 seconds.

Ahead of him were Carlos Alberto Gomes De Sá, 39, of Portugal, (24:38:16) and Grant

Maughan, 49, of Australia (24:53:57).

Congratulations to all of the other crazies who finished the race from Badwater in Death

Valley, (the lowest point in the western hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level) to Mt.

Whitney Portal (the entryway to the highest point in the U.S. at 14,994 feet).

A special congratulations to the truly insane (remember, being called crazy is a runner’s

favorite compliment) Marshall Ulrich, a 62-year-old Colorado man who completed his

19th Badwater 135 this year.

On Monday morning, 96 people started the challenge of champions. By Tuesday night,

25 of them had finished the race and 12 had dropped out.

The last person crossed the finish line just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, after running for

nearly 48 hours straight. In total, 81 runners finished the 135-mile trek. Congratulations

to all on your amazing achievement. You’re all nuts!

I’m very stoked to report that I got my crazy back last weekend. My MRI came back free

and clear on Friday, so I joined my running group bright and early Saturday morning.

They called me “baby calf” and said I ran like someone had just opened the gate to a stall

I had been pent up in.

My coach told me I was going to run with the new training group (they’re training for a

half marathon in September, while the established training group is preparing for the full

marathon in August).

I thought I was going to run what was on the new group’s schedule — 6 miles. Nope.

Coach wanted me to run with him, which meant turning back every mile to run to the last

person in the new group so they wouldn’t feel left behind. I ended up running 9 miles of

hill repeats, since the last person always seemed to be at the bottom of the hill that we

had just run up.

But I’m not complaining! It felt great and pain-free. I’m excited to be back out there, but

bummed that I’m not with “my” group. Give me a week or two and I’ll be at that level

again. Biking helped me maintain my cardiovascular strength during the break, but I

know I won’t be running 15 miles or more anytime soon.

I definitely don’t want to hurt myself again. You know you’re a runner when you get mad

that your injury keeps you from running, not that it damaged your body.

Now that I’m running again, I’d like to invite anyone who wants to join our running

group to come out Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 5 a.m. We meet in the

Friant and Fort Washington parking lot near Chapala Grill in Fresno and then we run into,

around, over and through Woodward Park.

The new group of “Wascally Wabbits” started training about a month ago, so you won’t

be too far behind in the training schedule if you start now. Check out TheWascally.com

and sign up for the Wascally Wabbit Half Mawothon, which will be held Sep. 21.

The new group consists of runners of all levels. Some can run a mile in eight minutes,

others run it in 14. For most, the Wascally will be their first half marathon. Make the

commitment to yourself and then make some wonderful friends along the way.

Can’t wait to meet you!

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