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TBunk - Run

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La Grange, Wisconsin
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 57h 33m 2s
Overall Rank = 3/13
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

rode out to the venue on Friday morning courtesy of my Father InLaw. While en route enjoyed some water, Gatorade, coffee, muffin, and a banana. Once at venue located spot to set up crew tents and canopy and helped set up.
Event warmup:

put on shoes and fuel belt along with my headband, ran around a bit to make sure everything was in a good place. listened in on the athlete briefing then went to the start
  • 57h 33m 2s
  • 202.18 miles
  • 17m 05s  min/mile

Oh My Lord!! What can I really say about this event?

There are TONS of people I need to thank for everything they did for this event but there is a small group of truly special people I need to thank first and foremost and that is the spouses/significant others of the crew and pacers. There was a lot of time spent out on the course by the crew/pacers and without the support of their spouses/significant others, they would not have been able to support me, so for that I thank you immensely!

To the Captains (Deb, Shad, Robb, Dave): the way you four came together to function as one and organize all the logistics of the event so I could focus on the, totally amazing the work you four did!!

To those that came out to help crew: Totally unselfish of you. Everything from simply putting a blanket around my shoulders or getting me a small glass of water to massaging my stinky feet. I am blessed to have great and awesome people such as you in my life!

To the pacers: you laughed at my jokes, listened to me bitch and moan, in some cases even shed tears with me. There is no group of people I would've wanted to share the loops with.

To the TBunk staff themselves: Thank you for putting on such a tremendous weekend of events so close to home. The staff was willing to do just about anything for the athletes, from making a made to order breakfast burrito to a on the spot grilled cheese. You guys rock!!

so, onto the event!!

A short time after the 2014 Lakefront Marathon I decided to do this event and then set the rest of the 2015 schedule after that. All the training I did was with an eye on the 200 Miler but had stops along the way with the Icebreaker Half Marathon, the South Shore Half Marathon, the Green Bay Marathon, the Door County Triathlon Relay, then the Watertown Half Marathon, and finally the Feeding Amercia 5K for the Hunger Task Force. All the events provided excellent results with the highlights being a 5th place overall at the Watertown Half Marathon and the Overall winner of the 5K. Lowlights weren't many, well only one really but it was a doozy! In June on an easy training run I strained my calf pretty bad and was not able to do the mileage or much of anything else that i wanted. By the end of July I was back to full strength and putting up the mileage I felt that I needed for training.

Fast forward to race time. Alarm set for 4:01 AM but couldn't sleep much so was up by 3:45 AM, excited and ready to go. Father Inlaw picked me up and off we go on a uneventful ride out to the course. Once arrived we found out where we could start setting up the crew area. Soon Robb and Shad and Deb were out and everything was set. Only thing left to do was wait for the go, but first some photo ops with some that came out to see the start.

First loop: so Mr. Starter says go and off we trot into the sunrise. Plan was to go out slow and comfy. Thought I was but soon myself and two others were well out front of the rest of the people (there were other events starting at various times all weekend. the 150 milers started alongside us 200 milers). Chatting with the other two soon realized that they were both doing the 150 mile event. First loop came and went mostly uneventful however the time of the loop was too fast and I received orders to SLOW DOWN.

Second Loop: Jeff, one of the two from the first loop was in and out of the aide station quick while Terry decided to wait for me and run together (at the end/start of each loop is where the big Aide Station was located. As I finished each loop I went into the event control station and checked in with the time keeper and then back out over to my crew area. Once at the crew area I had to do the following: 1. exchange my empty fuel belt bottles for full ones 2. exchange my empty Gel wrapper for a new one 3. report on any bathroom breaks 4. report on any extra hydration or nutrition I took while out on the loop from the unmanned aide station at the 5 mile mark). Loop 2 ended without any incidents and pace was slower but still on the faster side.

Loop 3 was again with Terry and again too fast which prompted my Crew Chief Deb (Deb was the overall in charge of everything captain) to have a heart to heart with me. She told me that I really needed to slow down or they were going to either bungee cord or duck tape me to the chair.

Loop 4-6 was more of the same but also a better controlled pace.

Loop 7 ended up being my first pacer of the weekend, the one and only (thank God!!) Jim "Webbies" Weber. Webbies was participating in the 50K event of the weekend which started on that Sunday. He was using this loop as his warm up! Must have worked as he ran a PR of 5:47:14 and finished 3rd Overall!!

Loop 8 was with Jenna who was also running an event on Sunday, however it was the Madison Marathon! As with Webbies this lap was very comfy and filled with laughter and awesome chats!

Loop 9 was with Blaise. Blaise had paced my on my final leg when I completed my 100 miler which included a LOT of walking. He requested some earlier loops so he could do some running this time around. The downhill running of the first part of the loop took its toll on his already injured hip so he ended up heading back to the crew area about 2.5 miles into the loop. Completed the rest of the loop by myself with zero issues

Loop 10. Blaise had actually been on the list for two loops but with him dealing with the hip injury it left me to do loop 10 by myself. So, grabbed my MP3 playing and off i went. this actually ended up being one of my faster loops and again, no issues and uneventful.

Loop 11. Dave, otherwise known as other. Was looking forward to the loop with Dave smply because all i would have to say would be "yep" or "hmm mm" as this guy can talk and talk and talk.......and talk.......and talk......and he fulfilled his potential!!!

The end of the 11th looped marked the end of the first half of the event. At this point, 101.09 miles down in 23 hrs 58 mins (new 100 mile distance PR)

Loop 12 was with Tammy and oh my Lord!! I do not think either one of us were quiet on this loop for more than 5 seconds! I think I actually got a side cramp on this loop from laughing so hard!!!

Loop 13/14 - Emily!! Sun is up now and am running with a superstar? what more could a guy ask for? Emily signed up for two loops. First loop was fun but that second loop......two highlights that stick out for me was her blocking the path while i was in the trees along the, looking for a lost puppy, ya, i'll go with the way, Jenna....I owe you a pair of gloves!! the second ended up with Emily calling herself a monster after some conversation involving pills and some other stuff!!

Loop 15was with Rhiannon (who actually had some tissue with her, thank goodness!!) Again the pacer was awesome as the loop flew by with lots of laughter and fun!

Loop 16 was with Paul Starich and again, no issues and tons of fun and laughter!!

*** At somepoint in the second day the 100 milers and the 50 milers started their events. In the 50 Mile was my good friends Sue Kieth who was doing her first 50!! She did an amazing job and finished the complete distance!! Also running was my training partner and good friend Nataly Stenzel, also doing her first 50 mile event. Not only did Nataly finish but she finished as the first female across the line!! AWESOME job ladies!!****

Back to the loops:

Loop 17 was with Jen Lehmann. Off we went and things were going well until a sharp pain in my left knee which became worse as we went along. So wheels are literally falling apart, can barely walk and Jen is being and angel and literally massaging my knee about every 100-200 yards. Thank you for being a rock Jen!

Loop 18s start was delayed for a nap (one of three that I took, all totaling about 1 hr 15 mins). This loop was with Rockstar Amanda "Rockin' the" Katsma! Prior to the start we decided as a team to tape my knee with KT tape using the method for IT Band issues. Before we go, my friend Scott gave me a picture of his friend Pedro who was battling ALS. He told me to take Pedro with me and use him as inspiration. Off we go and all was decent until we hit the downhills. Struggled thru then formulated a game plan of using the KT tape to tape the knee in a different fashion. Did that and it worked! however the tape wasn't sticking so it kept falling off. Made arrangements for Other to meet us out on the loop with some athletic tape but he wasn't able to get out to the meeting point thru no fault of his own. At the unmanned aide station Amanda used her scarf to tie the knee cap over to the said and that worked until we met Dave further up the trail. New tape job and a fresh roll of tape and off Amanda and I go to finish our what is now barely running mostly walking loop. Through out it all Amanda did an awesome job of keeping me moving and in great spirits!!

Loop 19 was once again with other and once again there were some highlights on this loop!! The first of which actually came after a very low lowlight. As I was walking and I went to plant my left foot (leg with the very ouchie knee at this point) my foot slipped and I went down hard. Pain throbbing from my knee down into my heel. Laying on my back taking some deep breaths I hear Other say, "hey, you better not be falling asleep on me!" to which I very politely say to him...."I only have my eyes closed because your *#$%@! headlamp is SHINING RIGHT IN MY FREAKING EYES!!! to which he simply apologized. It was shortly after this that the plan of plans was hatched. We called back to our crew station and had Robb go find a 24 hr Walgreen's to buy a knee brace. Robb jumped all over it and said once he was back he would meet us out on the course once he got back. Well little did Other and I know that Robb would go to the only 24 hr Walgreen's he knew of........which happened to be a 72 mile round trip journey!!! So the start of the next loop.

Loop 20 was with Ben and in the beginning Dave. Robb was to meet us at a specific point but we got there ahead of schedule so we went a bit further up the path. Once at the meeting point I took off the last of the tape and waited for the knee brace. Robb put down the back pack, opened it up and ........... nope. No knee braces in the bag.....grrrrr.....ok, no problem, let me have the biofreeze and i'll meet you further up the path with the, you won't believe this Dave, i forgot the biofreeze....ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!?!?! grrrrrrrrr......fine, let me have my freakin (edited word) 5 hr energy drink then. What, YOU DON'T HAVE THAT EITHER?!?!?!? WHAT THE HELL? just give me the $%##^*&& athletic tape then WHICH YOU CAN'T BECAUSE OTHER HAS IT IN HIS FREAKIN (edited word) POCKET AND HE WENT BACK TO THE CREW TENT.!!!! So up I go and start walking when who do I see? Mandi, Aimee, Cyndiloo, and Angela!!! They agreed to high tail it back to the crew tent to get the brace, biofreeze, 5 hr energy and all the other good stuff that Shad said I shouldn't have ( :P ). Was great to see their smiling faces out on the trail, was a real pick me up while on the verge of a breakdown! So off Ben, Robb and I go on down the path and conversation is flowing about Ben's training program and my thoughts on it with Robb chiming in from time to time. Soon enough we see the Four Girls again with the Brace and other equipment and quickly everything is set and after some adjustments on the brace off we go to finish loop 20!

Loop 21 with Shadfish (a.k.a, ShadBone. don't ask) Shad was filling in since now I was way off pacer chart pace and there wasn't anyone to head back out that hadn't already been out so Shad volunteered to walk 9 with me! was and awesome loop with one of the best "highlights" of the weekend happening at about the 1.5 mile see, I had something in my shoe so I stopped at a bench to remove said item from said shoe. It was also starting to get warm out so decided to take off my sweatpants and put them in the kit bag the pacers have been bringing along with them on the laps. So instead of having Shadbone take the kit bag off, I decide to have him just kneed down next to me and I will stuff the pants into the bag that way. Well just as I was finishing putting the pants into the bag a group of ladies come walking up the path towards us and just as they get next to us Mr. Shadbone jumps up and proclaims...."HE SAID YES!!!!!"........ugh, tuck my chin and just start walking again. Epic though, well played Shadbone, well freakin played!!

Back in January I decided to raise funds for ALS in connection with this event. The reason was because of watching my friend Robb go thru the ordeal with his father who ultimately passed due to complications from ALS. At that time I know that the pacer for my last loop would be Robb and so we start loop 22, the FINAL loop of the journey!!

Loop 22. So off Robb and I go to the cheers of some of the people still out at the event whether it was for my crew, another athletes crew or the event staff. This caused both Robb and I to tear up just a little bit. Loop starts off and we are just recapping how things went so far from the beginning of the event to this point and all the fun that has been had by all. We get to a point that we call "Sandy Water Slide" (my training partner Nataly and I had points on the loop that we had made up names for so we knew where we were on the loop and what was to come, and so we knew where we were talking about if we were talking about the course) and I tell Robb to send Nataly a text telling her we were there........and then again a bit later when we reached "Slippery Slope". It was at "Jen's Tree" that we decided that instead of texting we should just post the pics to the facebook page so "everyone could be on the loop with us". So while we were in the middle of taking the pic at "Jen's Tree" Robb gets a text and of course, it's Jen asking us to take a pic of her tree!! So we continue on down the path like that, stopping at the check points to take pics to let people know where we were at on the loop and all the while just having the time of our lives! Little did we realize though that in addition to the fun being had, we were actually making pretty good time!!! Well until about 2 miles out, just before the end of "Turkey Run" when I did the math in my head and realized that barring any unexpected amputations that I would finish within the allotted time for the event. At that point my mind relaxed and I even said to Robb..."I'm exhausted". Just a bit further and I started seeing the hallucinations! everything from ice cream semi trucks to monkeys and coyotes on the side of the path to huge gigantic spiderwebs to even a group of about 25-30 people standing staring at us as we walked towards them!

We made it to the final bigger downhill/uphill combination of the loop and I see Deb at the top of the hill waiting. That produced a mini breakdown of tears for me as I know that Deb was the glue that held everything together all weekend. Got up the hill to her and thanked her for everything she has down for me and off the three of us go now. down a little hill, up a bit of a hill and I see Other holding an ALS banner high. Needless to say this is where the breakdown of tears started. Turned that last corner and saw all the people that were already out and then others that had come back to see the finish and I just lost it, heavy sobs. Some of it was because I was happy to just about be done but most of it was because these people are simply amazing to me. At that moment I knew that I couldn't walk to that finish line so very painfully I did my best run impersonation to the line where I stopped and got down and rolled across to complete my 202.18 mile journey.

To those that came out for the finish.........thank you thank you thank you. To those that couldn't make it out to the course but were following along with the updates the crew were providing, thank you thank you thank you. All of you hold a very very special place in my life.

To Scott who not only got me off the chair with a bit of a motivational pep talk but also allowed me to take Alfredo with me, Thank you. (I found out on my way home on Sunday night after the event that Alfredo passed on sometime Saturday night/Sunday morning. RIP Alfredo, I didn't know you but I know you will be missed by many.)

I said it before but I will say it again, to Deb: someone called you my fairy godmother on a post on facebook, I believe this to be true, especially this weekend. What you did was amazing!!

Nataly/Robb/Jen/Other, thank you all for all of the time out on the course for training and all the laughter that came with it, or all the fun on the hills on Tuesday followed by hot tub time!

Webbies/Jenna: totally unselfish of you both to sacrifice time two days before major run events of your own. True friendship.

In the end the totals are staggering in some burned an estimated 22-23 thousand calories and ingested an estimated 11-12 thousand over the three days. Included in those calories were 26 gels, four 5 hour energies, some red bull, some coca cola, some mountain dew, some pretzels, some pizza (rocky's of course!), some meatloaf (MA, MEATLOAF!!), some cake, and a whole slew of other deliciously yummy goodness! but the kick was zero, zero stomach issues throughout. In fact, other than my knee I had zero issues out on the course and yes that included blisters, well up until mile 192 when I did get my first and only blister! matter of fact, I do believe that I will be keeping all ten toe nails as well!!!

One more thank you to put out there and then the recap is my darling wife Andrea. You have put up with my craziness now for a number of years and even told me to find my own way back from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Thank you for understanding and supporting me, I love you much more than you will ever know.
What would you do differently?:

Different? absolutely nothing.
Post race

Last updated: 2015-11-15 12:00 AM
57:33:02 | 202.18 miles | 17m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 3/13
Course: 22 loops of a 9.19 mile course thru the woods
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2015-11-15 5:00 PM

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West Allis, Wisconsin
Subject: TBunk

2015-11-17 8:53 AM
in reply to: #5152303

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Delafield, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: TBunk
Sounds like that Webbies fella is a real stand up guy. This was such an inspirational and amazing feat you accomplished. The numbers are staggering, as is your determination. The other incredible thing is the crew you assembled. You can tell a lot about a person by who they surround themselves with. Amazing. Proud to be your friend and student.
2015-11-21 7:44 AM
in reply to: #5152303

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Oak Creek, WI
Subject: RE: TBunk
Tough to get the head around this one... Pretty remarkable Dave... Your drive and determination have always been rather impressive to say the least... Sorry that I was out of town and unable to be there to step on your toe..!!!

Congrats on your accomplishment..!!!
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