Most of us can lace up our shoes and go for a 15-30 minute walk or run with little effort and a bit of sweat. Many of you have set your alarm early and trained for a marathon with long runs lasting a couple hours. But how many of us have ever considered running 50 miles at one time? Or better yet, how does 100 continuous miles in a day and a half sound?
One of our very own Odom Health & Wellness athletes has done the latter! Anders Pesavento just completed the Superior Sawtooth 100 mile ultramarathon which “traverses the Sawtooth Mountain Range on the Superior Hiking Trail in the far reaches of northern Minnesota.” Oh, and this is after he decided to pick up running in 2010, AND ran an excellent time in the Twin Cities Marathon and THEN decided to run the Surf the Murph 50 mile race through the Murphy-Hanrehan National Reserve Park in 2011. Seems like a logical progression, right? 25 miles, 50 miles, 100 miles…
Ultramarathons are longer distance races that take place in park reserves, wooded forests and scenic running routes. This is one of the main features that Anders enjoyed about his 50 mile and 100 mile races. He said that the atmosphere for these longer races is more relaxed – all of the runners enjoy the beautiful scenery and nature, talking and telling stories along the way.
The people – the runners and the volunteers at the many aid stations – made the race a very enjoyable experience for Anders. He spent the first 15 hours getting to know great people he was running with and enjoying the beautiful woods. He started to nurse his knee a little (an injury for which he was seeing Dr. Odom) and received great care and encouragement from the volunteers and race staff at the different aid stations.
Around 24 hours into the race (yes, 24 hours of running) and the 70 mile marker (a huge accomplishment in itself), he considered dropping out of the race. Both of his knees were giving him trouble and he was using a walking stick to take the load off while going down the many hills on the Superior Hiking Trail. After taking time to consider his options he made the decision to continue on and finish the last 30 miles. Anders said that he weighed the risks and realized he was less concerned about a slow recovery after the race than he was with the idea of not finishing. He was honest with himself and decided he probably would not make another attempt if he didn’t finish this time.
Thirty-seven hours and twenty-two minutes after he began his epic race, Anders crossed the finish line and was able to begin reflecting on his accomplishment and everything that got him there. “From the training to the injury prevention and nutrition, the team at Odom Health & Wellness did a great job of preparing me for this event!” said Anders. His preparation and positive attitude made the whole experience great because he was mentally alert, properly fueled, well hydrated and motivated.
Anders wants his story to prove that whether or not your next goal is a 10K or a 100-mile ultramarathon, most people can dig down deep and surprise themselves with what they are capable of accomplishing. Set a new goal for yourself (sign up for a 5K, set a new bench press goal, plan to walk 3 times this week, join an intramural soccer league). Enjoy the scenery, people you meet and the process along the way. And, when you get to a tough decision or when it gets hard, dig down deep and push on as best you can. Anders found out that he was capable of much more than he thought just by taking one step after the other.