Here is the report from the event…By Marc Friesen, Event Director

Trans-Kansas by the numbers

1 - Bruised paw

7 - Counties crossed (including 6 of the county seats)

230 - Miles from border to border

450 - Pounds of ice used by runners and crews

41,250 - Calories used by a single runner during the 5-day event

The idea for a Trans-Kansas run originated several years ago, but came to fruition over the Memorial Day weekend.  This type of event (and I say event, as this was not a race) was something that was untried by our club.  So how the event would go was for the most part unknown.  I expected to field a group of four to six runners and hopefully finish one or maybe two runners.  My expectations were greatly exceeded.

Day 1 - Five human runners (Paul Schoenlaub, Eric Steele, Dann Fisher, Jim Perry and Marc Friesen) and one Canine (Bart) who was accompanying Dann started at the Nebraska border on Thursday, May 25 at 6:00am.  There was a light northern breeze at our backs.  It was nice way to start for the 230 miles.  The favorable conditions didn’t last long.  The tailwind remained, but the cool conditions didn’t.  The temperature would crawl into the 90’s.  I struggled in the heat early and decided that my heat-training was nonexistent and better call it off early.  Paul and Dann ran strong the entire day.  Eric Steele and Jim Perry also struggled with the heat and/or blisters, but made it to the finish line to complete the first day.  Eric Steele determined that getting through the first 52-mile stage (ending in Clay Center) was enough and wouldn’t return to run, but rather to support the remaining entrants in the later stages.  Bart suffered a bruised paw after about 30 miles and was pulled, also came back later to crew.

Day 2 - Dann, Paul and Jim started off again in Clay Center for the shortest of the five stages…38 miles.  Rich Golden, the lone single stage entrant, also joined the motley group for this stage.  Winds remained from the north, switching the south in the afternoon.  Temperatures soared into the mid-90’s.  The trees that lined the highway in Abilene provided the only shade on the course that day and were more than welcome.  Day two ended at the Smokey Hill River just south of the Abilene City Limits.  All finished well and retreated back the shade of the Eisenhower Center and Park as soon as they were done.

Day 3 - A strong headwind was the order of the day for this stage.  This would be a tough day for all.  I measured a gust of 35mph and a temperature of 96F at the finish in Goessel, 50 miles down the road from the start.  In my mind this would be the “make or break” for all runners.  Completing this stage would mean 140 miles and three days down, a significant mental barrier.  Despite the tough conditions and the lengthy stage everyone just got tougher and persevered. 

Day - 4 The wind was back and it returned earlier in the day than the others.  This day’s stage was straight south for 46 miles.  There was no break with a brief spurt of east-west running as in the previous stages.  And for the first time we left highway K-15 for a more direct southern route during this stage.  This stage would take us through the towns of Newton and Wichita.  The cities provided a break in the scenery, but also eliminated the opportunities for “roadside breaks”.  It did provided crews to get the necessary supplies and services a little closer at hand.  Paul, Jim and Dann all looked good running.  Everyone was in their groove.

Day - 5 This is the day that Jim, Paul and Dann had been running for.  There was only 44 miles left to the Oklahoma border.  The surety of the finish for the three was absolute.  I think in some ways was one of the easier stages for all runners, and also judging by Dann’s 16 minute split for the last two miles of the stage.  The rigors of five ultras in a row had taken their toll; include cuts on hands from opening and closing Gatorade bottles countless times and sore lips from drinking from hand bottles.  These are the “classic” over use injuries.

Final thoughts:

Although I wish my own running could have gone better, then next best thing was to be a part of such outstanding efforts.  I think this event truly defines ultrarunning’s unofficial motto, “Ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.  Running and direction such an event is a combination of involved in a 24 hour and a 50 mile race all at once.  There is the shear exhaustion from a 24 hour, but the constant go-go-go of a 50-mile. 

I doubt the exact same event will return next, but the type of event will, so be looking for an announcement sometime later this year.

Official Results

                                52                38                50                    46                  44                     230

                               Stage 1         Stage 2      Stage 3           Stage 4           Stage 5            Total

Paul Schoenlaub 11:05:46        7:25:38     11:25:27        10:23:31        9:08:25             49:28:47       

Dann Fisher         11:54:17        8:56:06     12:38:49        12:25:35        11:34:45           57:29:45

Jim Perry             12:10:02       9:32:20    14:30:40        14:37:09        12:50:48          63:40:19

Eric Steele           14:44:08

Rich Golden         9:31:00

Marc Friesen       DNF

 

From Jim Perry, participant

 

 

I had never run a multi-day run before.  Before when I ran 50 miles, I was stiff for 2 days afterward.  I tried this run as an experiment

to see if I could do it.  At the end of day 1, I passed out with my eyes still open and gave Marc quite a scare.  I got up Day 2 and

started shuffling down the road.  Pretty soon I discovered that I didn't hurt too bad.  I kept running.  Temperatures every day

got into the 90's.  Day 3 was the most taxing on me.  We ran 50 miles south with wind gusts from the South at 50 mph and the

high temperature hitting 95.  By the end of day, I was totally beat.  Day 4 I woke up to find the wind still blowing.  I almost didn't

go to the starting line.  But, I was determined to see if I could still succeed.  Day 4 was the stage I feared the most - the run

down Broadway in Wichita.  Days 3 and 4 took me a little over 14 1/2 hours each.  Monday morning I woke up and could sense

that I was going to finish.  The day started good but, by the time I got to Wellington it was brutally hot, the shoulders were narrow

on Highway 81 and I was fading.  With 10 miles to the finish, Eric Steele showed up and ran and talked with me for the final

10 miles.  That was all I needed to finish the tour.  I wasn't fast but I was persistent.  I had a buddy from Enid, come up and

crew for me.  He was fantastic.  He had a great way of keeping me going without pushing.  I don't think I would run the race again,

but I would look at another event with a different course.  KUS has always had a special spot in my heart because I have been encouraged

and applauded even though I am not an elite runner.  Thanks for the experience.

I finished the event on Monday evening and Saturday I found myself in Minneapolis to run a 24-hour run around Lake Nakomis.  I needed

21 miles at the event to complete 500 miles at FANS and get a special jacket.  I completed 28 miles before cashing in and going to

the hotel.  There was very little left in the tank at the beginning or end of the FANS.  I had signed up for FANS before I saw the Trans-Kansas run. 

 

And from Dann Fisher, participant

 

Trans-Kansas 2006:  The Weather is Here, I Wish You Were Beautiful

 

That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I'd just run across Washington County. And I figured, since I’d run this far, maybe I'd just run across the great state of Kansas. And that's what I did. I ran clear across Kansas. For no particular reason I just kept on going…

 

Thursday, May 25, Nebraska Border to Clay Center on K-15, 52 miles

 

Day one of the Trans-Kansas was hot (92 degrees), sunny and offered a tailwind for most of the stage.  The event had six starters - Dann Fisher and his sidekick Bart (Manhattan), Marc Friesen (Newton), Jim Perry (Enid, OK), Paul Schoenlaub (St. Joseph, MO), and Eric Steele (Wichita).  By the end of the day the field would pare in half.

 

The group stayed relatively close together for the first 20 miles to Washington, which helped to reduce the strain on our small crew.  Bart was excited to be part of the pack.  Unlike Miles, Bart has experienced the joy of group running infrequently.  He bounced between Marc and Paul trying to understand what was unfolding.  Unfortunately, Bart bruised a paw pad on the approach to Linn, about 30 miles into the stage, and would be relegated to crew dog for the rest of event.

 

First time I ran
Was to the end of the block
I didn't know then
That it never would stop
                        -- Jimmy Buffett, Everybody’s on the Run

 

As I approached Linn, I thought about my uncle, Loyd Wiese, who was raised in Linn.  When he died, he wasn’t much older than I am now.  Loyd enjoyed taking part in my early running adventures.  I wondered what he would have thought of this crazy event.  Could I have talked him into crewing?

 

Leaving Linn, I switched to a sun hat with a chinstrap because I was tired of chasing my cap through the ditch each time a truck passed.  The hog trucks were my favorite.  The shoulder of K-15 is narrow and rocky, sloping quickly into the ditch.  Most of the first day’s run was an attempt to get comfortable running only a few feet from fast moving trucks and cars.

 

Just outside Palmer, I caught up to Marc and Paul as they prepared to leave the aid station.  Paul seemed strong.  The heat was starting to wear on Marc.  He would marshal on for another eight miles before succumbing to the weather.  Clearly disappointed, he opted for a ride with Shannon to Clay Center in the Honda Element.

 

At the aid stop near the junction with K-9, Richard Golden joined the fray.  At Linn, I attempted to goad him into joining us.  Rich had signed up for the second stage, but upon reflection decided that he had another 12 in the tank.  Paul was out of sight, running strong.  Rich, Jim and I moved more cautiously toward Clay Center.  Word came that Eric had dropped back, struggling with blisters and swelling in his Achilles tendon.  He would finish this stage, but would wisely choose not to continue.

 

The traffic grew heavy as we approached Clay Center.  The sun was lower in the sky and seemed to be trying to burn a hole right through me.  The salt that coated my shirt had turned it as stiff as if it had been starched.  I felt fine, but I must have looked rough.  A man pulled to the side of the road and offered me the ice from his soft drink.  I declined but thanked him for his generosity.  When I met Shannon at the last aid stop before Clay Center, Marc was standing next to the vehicle doing his best to turn himself inside out.  Shortly after I left them, a man flagged me down.  “Having car trouble?” he quizzed.  I explained the aid wagon to him and why we were venturing down K-15.  He seemed a bit perplexed, almost sorry that he had asked, but he wished me well.

 

I reached the finish line of stage one, the corner of US-24 and K-15, to find Marc sitting in the Honda and Paul departing for Washington to retrieve Jim’s van.  Rich and Jim came in shortly after me.  Shannon purchased me a milkshake from the Twister and we opted for a spot in the shade around the corner to await Paul’s return.  Shortly after I sat down, Marc came shuffling my direction, moving a lot like Fred Sanford.  “Dann, Jim just collapsed!”  I struggled to my feet and hustled toward the Honda only to find Jim passed out on the tailgate.  He had been talking on his cell phone, Marc explained, when he just drooped over.  I grabbed my cell phone and started to call 911.  Before I could finish dialing Jim came around.  Marc and I got him up and moving, escorting him to the shade.  Within a few minutes he was fine again, just the latest casualty of the heat and sun.

 

Day one had been rough.  Marc, Eric and Bart had called it quits.  Jim was questionable for return.  I felt okay, but wondered what I’d feel like in the morning.  Paul was finding it all too easy, and he remained too positive.  I secretly nicknamed him Flanders.

 

Time: 11:56:17

 

 

Friday, May 26, Clay Center to Smokey Hill River south of Abilene on K-15, 38 miles

 

Spinning around in circles
Living it day to day
And still twenty four hours, maybe sixty good years
It's still not that long a stay.
We've gotta roll with the punches
Learn to play all of our hunches
Makin' the best of whatever comes your way
Forget that blind ambition
And learn to trust your intuition
Plowin' straight ahead come what may.
           
            -- Jimmy Buffet, Cowboy in the Jungle

 

Day two found Jim willing to continue, Paul picking up a pacer, Rich ready to do his stage, and me electing to use an iPod shuffle for the rest of the event. 

 

Road trip runnin’ with the music up loud
Take a trip from the north to the dirty south
Wherever it leads ya

Overheated on the side of the road

                        -- Jimmy Buffett, Back of the Bus

 

Bart was disappointed to be left behind.  The day had dawned overcast and much cooler.  Storm clouds lurked off to the west as we stumbled our way out of Clay Center.  Paul, pacer in tow,  soon took off like a shot.  The rest of us remained cautious.  I was stiff the first couple of miles, but soon began to flow easily down the road.  I hoped to get this section in by mid-afternoon.  Bart had been limping and not acting right so I wanted to get him to Manhattan to the vet.  I also hoped to squeeze in a chiropractic adjustment and massage.

 

Shannon met me every five miles.  The distance between Clay Center and K-18 went by quickly.  The lightening circled around us to the south, while we benefited from an off-and-on light rain over this section of the course. 

 

K-18 was narrow and the traffic was difficult.  As I turned back south on K-15, the sun came out.  Coupled with the high humidity, the heat was brutal.  I asked Shannon to meet me every four miles and worked at slowing the pace.

 

Just before we reached Abilene, we encountered the only construction on the entire 230-mile course, a less than one-mile stretch being resurfaced just to the north of I-70.  Given the bumper crop of orange barrels that Kansas produces every summer, the dearth of road construction was surprising. 

 

I was tired and the heat was taking a toll as I dodged traffic in Abilene.  I laughed out load at the cars lined up into the road at a stop-and-rob that was offering fuel for $2.41, while the shop across the road, selling fuel for $2.57, set empty.  Amazing what people will endure for a “bargain.” 

 

Paul emerged from the Eisenhower Center parking lot to cheer me on.  As I approached the bridge, I had to jump the guardrail and progress in the grass because the traffic on the bridge was potentially lethal.

 

After I finished, we left Marc to wait for Rich and Jim to finish, while Shannon and I rushed toward Manhattan to take Bart to see Dr. Lyons.  While Bart was being checked out, I went to get an adjustment from Dr. Iversen.  Shannon headed back to Abilene to retrieve Marc and Paul. 

 

When I retrieved Bart, he had his bruised paw pad wrapped, and I was given medication for him to treat a bacterial infection.  I dropped Bart off at home and went to get a massage from Doug Sellers.  I was glad this was the “rest” day, because I was shot!

 

Time: 8:56:06

 

 

Saturday, May 27, Smokey Hill River south of Abilene to Goessel on K-15, 50 miles

 

We only have two rules in this outfit - take care of your feet and don’t do something stupid that ends up getting you killed.

 

I thought of those words of wisdom from Lt. Dan as I drained a blood blister on my right foot while enjoying breakfast.  During the planning phase for this event, I debated with Marc the merits and difficulties of running from north to south.  I had feared a strong south headwind.  A storm had moved though over night, making my words prophetic (and the runners pathetic).  The wind would only strengthen as the sun came up.

 

Marc would crew for Paul today.  Shannon would crew for me.  Jerry arrived from Oklahoma to crew for Jim.  Fearing that the wind would slow our progress, we decided that the crew vehicles should stop every four miles.  The three of us were running such drastically different paces that the event had turned into three supported solo runs across Kansas.  I added more frequent, but still short, walking breaks trying to consciously conserve energy in the wind.  By the end of the day, the temperature would be 96 degrees and the wind would blow around 25 mph with gusts exceeding 40 mph.  We ran 44 of the 50 miles into the wind.  “Flanders” implied that the wind was some sort of blessing because it was keeping him cool.  I think 15 mph would have been sufficient for that.  No wonder Paul does so well in ultras - he is so damn positive that nothing gets him down!

 

My parents arrived early in the run to retrieve Maggie (our ancient dog) and take her to a kennel in Salina.  My dad, the Rain Man of Kansas roads, engaged Marc in a discussion of the route before they departed.

 

Even with extended sitting breaks on the tailgate of the Element, I averaged four miles per hour on the way to Durham.  Somewhere north of Durham, I looked up to see a rattlesnake coiled up in my path.  Having seen the snake too, Paul asserted that it was dead.  I was not convinced. If Phil Sheridan had been there, I’m sure he would have poked it with a stick to find out.  Frank Dayton would have picked it up to examine it more closely.  I gave it a wide berth by circling to the other side of the highway.  I don’t like snakes!

They just couldn't believe that somebody would do all that running for no particular reason. I just felt like running.

As we approached the turnoff to Tampa, a pickup truck slowed down beside me.  “Broken down?” he quizzed.  I thought, “Well, yeah.  But not in the sense that you’re thinking.”  I explained the event too him.  “Shoot.  You got a long way to go,” he pronounced in a Kansas drawl that I once read is posited to result from the need to shout over the Kansas wind.  I wanted to say, “Thanks captain obvious,” but I just muttered something about being half way.  He wished me luck, told me to be careful and sped off.  This scene replayed itself several times over the course of the day.  Encouraging that so many people are still willing to check on the needs of a stranger.  Perhaps it was only fleeting curiosity into why some dumbass would be running down a narrow high in brutal heat and gale force winds.

 

My experience was less positive as I departed Durham.  A flatbed truck hauling a farm implement was passing me moving in the same direction.  Suddenly, I notice tires on the white line just inches to my right.  Some idiot had decided to pass the truck.  I still don’t know how the mirror missed my arm.  I gave them a double, middle-fingered gesture, the only one of the event.

 

Against the wind

I was running against the wind

I’m older now but still running against the wind

 

I laughed out loud when the Bob Seger song shuffled its way into my ears after more than 30 miles of being buffeted around by the Kansas “breeze.”  I started thinking about when the song was new.  We had played it many times (probably on 8-track tape) during my first ultra, a 24-hour relay in July 1980.  On a 102 degree, humid, sunny, windy day that morphed into a muggy night, I ran 30 miles, in one-mile shifts.  I thought about the guys with whom I had shared that track so many years ago.  I’m still in touch with one of them, at least one is deceased, the others have scattered like dirt in the Kansas wind.  Perhaps I would have caught up with one or two of them had I attended my high school reunion that was taking place while I ran.  A quarter century later, the question remains: Why am I still running against this stinkin’ Kansas wind?

 

About 36 miles into the stage, I met Shannon at the turn onto US-56.  The wind rocked the vehicle as I sat on the tailgate.  Shannon had ventured into Hillsboro for lunch and returned with tapioca pudding for me.  What a tasty treat! 

 

The roughly six miles down US-56 brought a respite from the wind and a much wider, paved shoulder.  With the wind now at my left, I found myself snaking down the road to keep from ending up in traffic.  At the next aid spot Shannon had parked on a gravel road.  Several drilling trucks approached from the south.  The wind-driven gravel they scattered nearly ripped the skin off of us!

 

When I was hungry, I ate. When I was tired, I slept. When I had to go, you know, I went!

 

As I turned back south on K-15, I felt the call of nature so I ventured under a bridge to take care of business.  Upon repositioning my shorts and returning to the road, I realized that I had developed some serious crotch chaffing.  “Son-of-a-bitch!” I exclaimed as if it might somehow sooth my skin.  I struggled the next couple of miles to where I met Shannon.  I slathered myself with Bag Balm and ran the last six miles like I had spent the last couple of days on a horse.

 

Despite the heat and the wind, I was peeing all the way to the end of the stage.  My stomach felt great, good enough that I was able to consume a double quarter-pounder, fries, a milkshake and a coke on the way to cabin.

 

Time: 12:38:49

 

 

Sunday, May 28, Goessel on K-15 to Wichita on US-81, 46 miles

 

I endured a restless sleep overnight.  I drained and patched three new blisters on my toes before loading gear to head to Goessel.  At 4:30 a.m., the wind was still blowing fiercely.  I couldn’t help but wonder if I had 46 miles in me again today.

 

We met Paul, Marc, Jim and Jerry at Goessel.  Even Paul started slowly this morning.  He and I bantered a bit as we moved the four miles to the first aid station. We stopped to pee. Thinking of the lyrics from a Jerry Jeff Walker song, I made sure that I stationed myself at the south end of the line:

 

Pissin’ in the wind

Blowin’ on all our friends

Makin’ the same mistakes

We swore we’d never make again

 

I’m sure I created some conversation over the five days by stopping whenever I felt like it next to the highway to pee.  One could only imagine the words that must have been exchanged between the more civilized travelers in the cars.

 

I felt very sluggish today.  I began to perk up as we ran west through Newton.  The town provided a good windbreak.  I used the bathroom at McDonald’s.  Wow!  Indoor plumbing.  What a concept. 

 

As we approached the Newton Medical Center on the south side of town, I stepped awkwardly off a curb and my left calf muscle seized up.  At the aid station, I rubbed it with ice, but it insisted on screaming at me for the next 16 miles or so.

 

Jim Davis joined the crew team and would ride with Marc the rest of day.  Jim and Marc are two of the truly nice people in ultrarunning.  Having the easy-going, reassuring Jim around today would help us all.

 

In the days of the first running boom, we were instructed to never run more than 20 miles, unless we were racing.  About 20 miles into this run, I became nostalgic for those days.  Shannon was parked back a ways on a gravel road to take advantage of the wind protection from a tree line.  Not hard to understand why these trees were planted years ago.

 

US-81 is a four-lane between Newton and Wichita. The extra lane generally gave us a break from the traffic.  Most, but not all, people were willing to move over.  Weary from the narrow highway we had traveled the first three days, I often challenged the holdouts to move over by refusing to flinch in a game of chicken that I clearly had no hope of winning. 

 

My parents and my aunt Joyce were waiting with Shannon at an aid station in Park City.  Marc and Jim arrived shortly after I did.  They informed us that Paul was running strong and on his way toward downtown Wichita.  We all agreed that Paul is machine.  My calf was feeling better but my left IT band had begun cursing me in the last couple of miles so I took an extended stay on the tailgate in the shade to do some icing and enjoy the conversation.

 

Another hot one on Highway 81

This is my life, its what I’ve chosen to do

There’s no free ride, no one said it’d be easy

The old man told me this my son

I’m telling it to you

Days turn to minutes and minutes to memories

Life sweeps away the dreams that we have planned

You are young and you are the future

So suck it up and tough it out and be the best you can

 

Mellencamp returned me to a good running groove.  Despite the heat, wind and soreness, I made good time to downtown Wichita.  Not wanting to be in north Wichita after dark didn’t hurt my motivation either.  Eric Steele and his crew met me just before the next aid station to offer encouragement.  I met Shannon and my family near the homeless shelter close to downtown.  Later I would learn, not surprisingly, that Jim had given one of the men some money.  Paul then offered a sandwich but went back to running leaving Marc and Jim to prepare the meal! 

 

Shannon, my dad and I studied the map to determine how much distance was left to 62nd street.  The wind was blocked downtown which made for sweltering heat (Damn Flanders was right!).  I walked a little more as I headed toward the finish, trying to conserve for the remaining stage.  As I approached the finish line of the stage, I broke into laughter.  The iPod shuffle knew just what to play: Highway to Hell.

 

When we arrived at the hotel a few blocks away, the weather channel indicated that the temperature was 90 degrees and that the wind was 26 mph gusting to 32 mph.  I became chilled but still managed to ice my IT band.  I was hoping that it wouldn’t keep me from doing the final stage.  I ate most of large pizza and drifted off to sleep.

 

Time:  12:25:35

 

 

Monday, May 29, Wichita on US-81 to the Okalahoma Border on US-177, 44 miles

 

I had a good night of sleep.  My IT band felt normal, as if I hadn’t run at all the day before. My stomach, on the other hand, was upset, probably the pizza still reverberating.  I’d get to visit some additional Kansas landscape over the morning as a result.

 

Marc, Paul, Jim and Jerry were already at the starting line when we arrived.  Marc was stating that since this is not a race we shouldn’t have been referring to him as the RD.  “I’m really ED,” he stated.  I suggested that he might want to reconsider that title, much to Paul’s delight.

 

Anxious to get to Oklahoma, Paul started quickly.  I hung back for a bit to visit with Jim.  Today would be hot (above 90 degrees again and more humid) but the wind calm by Kansas standards - a 10 to 15 mph headwind. I can run stronger in these conditions.

 

Early in the run, I realized that I had a nasty blister forming on my lower lip.  It took a couple of sips from the water bottle for me to realize that this was a repetitive-use injury.  The plastic, pop-up spout on my water bottle was wearing a hole in my lip.  This would be my most painful injury of the event.  Marc told me that Jerry had blisters on his hand from the repeated opening and closing of the Gatorade bottle he was carrying.  Things we neglect to consider in training!

 

So let's talk about the future
Or the consequences of my past
I've got scars, I've got lines
I'm not hard to define
Just an old professor coverin' his ass.
I know I can't run and hide
But just hang on for the ride
There will be laughter and tears
As we progress through the years
But still it's fun
Hey I'm not done
Gonna run  'til I fall

-- Jimmy Buffett, Coastal Confessions

 

Shannon met me every four miles most of the day.  At an early stop, Marc quoted Paul as saying that this was just getting easier each day.  I asked Marc to inform Flanders that he risked his remains being found years from now in one of these fields.  Jim was energized to be in the last leg and was running strong, staying close behind me for most of the morning.

 

There isn’t much on the map between Wichita and Wellington.  I found myself thinking, “Wheat field, wheat field, wheat field, pasture, wheat field, wheat field, expletive wheat field…”  A couple of miles before Riverdale, it donned on me that I was about 200 miles into this trek.

 

I was running okay but felt really fatigued through the morning.  Shannon purchased me a hamburger at Sonic in Wellington so I sat on the tailgate and enjoyed lunch.  Twenty miles to go. 

 

Over the next 10 miles, I moved deliberately, encountering a number of hills.  At times I was sleepy, not unlike the late stages of a 100-miler.  I thought it interesting that Thursday, the cars moving past made me nervous.  Now trucks were flying past me at 70 mph only a few feet away almost unnoticed, at least until I slide in the scree next to the road and almost fell over backwards into the on-coming traffic.  As I caught my balance and regained my composure, I reminded myself that getting killed 10 miles from the finish would put a real damper on the event.

 

Shortly before I was to meet Shannon about eight miles from Oklahoma, Eric and Warren (Eric’s crew) pulled up and stopped in front of me.  Paul, I was told, had just finished.  Eric was preparing to run the last few miles with Jim.  A sheriff stopped to see if we needed help.  Eric told him of our adventure.  The sheriff didn’t seem overly impressed, more relieved that he didn’t need to do any work.

 

Shannon agreed to meet me in three miles.  As I prepared to leave, Marc, Jim and Paul arrived. Jim was preparing to take Paul to Newton to meet his ride.  Paul still looked amazingly fresh.  Not surprisingly, he was upbeat.  As I prepared to leave them, I turned and said, “Here is something you’ll only hear me say once: I can’t wait to get to Oklahoma!” 

 

I've been in vans and in bands
On and through stages
One thing I can conclude
One has to learn havin' fun is just smilin' through
Those Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Take it from me cuz I've found
If you leave it then somebody else is bound
To find that treasure, that moment of pleasure
When yours, it could have been
Some people never find it
Some only pretend, but me:
I just want to live happily ever after every now and then

                                    -- Jimmy Buffett, Happily Ever After (Every Now and Then)

 

I was starting to smell the barn.  I covered the next three miles in 33 minutes.  I found Marc waiting with Shannon at the next aid spot.  He told me that I’d have a short climb into South Haven.  He talked of needing to return to Newton but decided to go with Shannon to the next aid station.  My bottle refilled, I decided to see if I could continue to drop the pace.  The next three miles passed in 30 minutes.  When I met up with Marc and Shannon, Marc indicated that he would have time to see me finish if I could replicate that pace for the last two miles.  I embraced the challenge and further dropped the pace, racing over the last two miles in 16:30. Oklahoma! 

 

I'm pretty tired... I think I'll go home now.

 

Time: 11:34:45

 

 

Epilogue

Paul Schoenlaub - 49:28:47

Dann Fisher - 57:29:32

Jim Perry - 63:40.19

Eric Steele - 14:44:08 (1st Stage Only - 52 Miles)

Rich Golden - 9:31:00 (2nd Stage Only - 38 Miles)

Marc Friesen - DNF

Entering the event I had no idea if I could even line up for stages three, four and five.  I was amazed at how well my body responded each day.  I was using a new drink, eLoad, that eliminated my heat and nausea issues.  I was extremely pleased with how well this product worked for me.  I estimate that I consumed more than seven gallons of eLoad over the five days.  I also downed 13 liters of Pedialyte and more than three gallons of Pepsi.  I didn’t eat much while running - three or four pbj sandwiches, three cans of Stax Lays chips, a hamburger, several poptarts, and some pudding.  Most of my food calories came in the hours after each stage.  I lost one pound over the five days.

 

Because of the heat, I hit the electrolytes hard.  I used the e-caps that the makers of eLoad provide and supplemented them with Succeed caps.  I took one of each every half hour, meaning that I swallowed more than 200 caps during the five days.

 

I estimate that I spent about seven hours sitting on the tailgate of the Element.  I probably ran about two-thirds of time.  I suspect that I listened to more than 700 songs during stages two through five.

 

At the finish I learned that Jim was an accountant.  That makes four accountants on or along the course (Marc, Shannon, Jim and me).  Seems you couldn’t swing a dead roadkill (and we had lots of choices) without hitting an accountant.  Jim showed tremendous resolve, getting up off the deck after stage one to run strong all the way to the end.  I have a lot of admiration for him.

 

Paul was amazing, covering the course in less than 50 hours.  He seemed unfazed and ready for the Bighorn 100 three weeks later.  I kid him throughout this report, but he is a great guy and a talented ultrarunner.

 

Eric showed the ultrarunner spirit by helping Jim get to the finish line.

 

Rich helped out by joining in stage 1.  Rumor has it that he ran a 10k in Hillsboro while we were running stage 3.

 

Marc showed tremendous character throughout the event.  I know that he was disappointed by not being able to run the event that he planned so well, but instead of pouting, he served us well as crew.  People like Marc are what make ultrarunning in general and the Kansas Ultrarunners’ Society specifically so special.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Shannon.  She allows and encourages all my crazy dreams.  She drove across Kansas four miles at a time. Now that is patience! 

 

I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both are happening at the same time.

 

Over the course of the run, I had occasion to think about many of my relatives.  During the first stage, we passed near where most of my mom’s family lived or still resides.  During the third stage, we passed near where most of my dad’s relatives lived.  Somewhere over the course of the run, as I enjoyed the beautiful weather and the lovely Kansas vistas and as I pondered my heritage, I concluded why I still live in Kansas - because apparently I’m too god damned stupid to move!

 

And that’s all I have to say about that.