"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, June 9, 2008


I won't give a standard race report for this year's FANS. I'm sure Julie, Carl, Karen and Adam will have all the info you could want on their blogs. Wayne volunteered all night and Kurt will probably have some interesting comments about Sonja's rough day.

The first 11 hours were fine. I started very conservatively and felt great at 5 hours, when others were already dropping from the heat and humidity. If I hadn't run into problems, I'd've run more than 100. As is happens, Pete wins the contest for guessing mileage; I ran 85.24 miles.

"I hurt myself today to see if I still feel." - Nine Inch Nails, "Hurt"

Those who've been reading this blog know I have a high tolerance for pain. I can run on a broken ankle, for example. People run races like FANS to test their limits; just how much pain can I tolerate? I decided I was going to run all 24 hours, no matter what. By 2 AM, it became a dark night of the soul.

I don't want to cheapen the experience by talking it to death. It was self-torture. I bled. I cried. I hobbled on, hour after hour after hour. One runner prayed to St. Jude for me.

Today, I'm house-bound. I can't stand for 30 seconds or walk 30 feet. I can't wear shoes. High doses of painkillers don't mask the pain, but do make me drowsy enough to sleep.

This was transformative pain. I am not the same man today as I was Saturday morning. I now know how much pain I can tolerate - and, now that I know, I will never risk it again.

Fortunately, none of the damage is permanent. I probably won't have much to report for a while, but the Superior 100 is still my goal.


Julie B said...

Hi Steve. Do I say congratulations for hanging on? Congratulations for sticking to your goal of sticking to the 24 hours? Even though it hurt so badly, even though you were and are in such horrific pain? Yes, I do. Some will never understand. Some say how can you congratulate a person that could have done huge damage, damn near killed themselves? Congratulations! You did it. You tested yourself. Many will never do that, and for many, it just isn't necessary. For some of us, it just is. I'm proud of you. You hung in. You are welcome for the hat. Recover recover recover. Many cold baths, really, they suck, but they work.

Carl Gammon said...

Steve, super effort and super tenacity. As Julie said, many won't understand, but you have a lot of friends that do. Great job.

keith said...

Uh, Congratulations? Agree with Julie about the cold bath prescription.

I just can't fathom what any 50+ mile runner puts themselves through, let alone one running on a broken ankle. I understand "tests" of one's capacities, but I would be faking it if I said I understood what you'd been through that night...and it makes me want to know. Someday.

Until then, I'll be frequenting your blog to see how you're preparing for Superior!! Let me know when you're ready for some hill repeats at Afton.

Helen said...

Steve - I can't imagine how bad that felt but being on the stubborn side myself I can understand why you kept going. So a definite Congratulations to you! Recover well for Superior. Smart to not plan and races until then, 100 miles isn't for messing with.


MN Ultra Runner said...

Well that RTA run Saturday is going to be a bitch isn't it? Just kiddin' brother, you were a warrior Saturday.

You're hurting now but when healed you'll be a smarter and harder runner than you were Friday. Perfect for Superior. Recover well.

WynnMan said...

Well done Steve. It was fun watching everyone. Only a few more weeks until Amazon heat and hill of Afton. Your schedule is looking easier and easier (;
Becareful with racing too much, recover well, as Superior 100 will test & tax every bit of physical and mental energy that one has.

Kel said...

Sounds like you have the mental stuff for Superior - or anywhere - if you can keep pushing through what you went through. Recover well!

Wayne said...

Way to persevere, Steve. It looked to me that you gave all you had. As others are saying, recover fully and come back stronger than ever.

Diane said...

Good job sticking with it and staying true to a goal!


Congratulations Steve!
RECOVERY! Now that you've proven you have the tenacity to push yourself like that maybe try an even harder concept...down-time. I'm guessing it will be more of a challenge than 24 hours.

Jean said...

Wow, Steve, I can't imagine what it is like to run for that long, and to experience the physical, mental and emotional aspects that go along with such a journey. Congratulations on covering the distance you did. That is amazing! And I hope your recovery is swift!