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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Column: The Ironman - Not 4 Wimps

  • Local Ironman competitor, Dr. John Anders writes about his training, marathons, and musings.
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  • Lots of people tell me getting older is not for wimps. I tend to agree but that's not what I'm referring to today, even though I have a birthday in the near future. Not for Wimps is the name of a race held in Derby every February. And you can choose to either do the 6.2 mile course or the 10 miler. I think I heard them say this was 25 years of the event, when they mentioned that they had only had one broken bone sustained in 25 years of holding the race.
    That's almost hard to believe considering the type of surfaces this race passes through. Once you get through the opening mile, the course drops down into the sand along the Arkansas River for about 100 yards. You would think this little stretch was a mile long as it felt like someone suddenly put the brakes on you and wouldn't let you go. Then you head back up into the trees where off-road enthusiasts have carved out trails over the years.
    It would be kind of scenic if you didn't have to have your eyes glued to the ground ahead of you, to make sure where you were stepping was not going to leave you laid out flat on the ground. I call the wooded section a roller coaster for your legs. It is a relentless series of up and downs, with a couple more stretches of running in the sand thrown in just so you don't get too comfortable with your pace.
    Some years the weather gets to add to the "fun" of the event. Wind is a given. When is not windy around here? Anyone who hasn't done this race when it's been wet is really missing out. Surely we are due for a wet February one of these years. This might certainly have been the warmest Not for Wimps event I have done. The temperature gauge in my truck read 69 degrees when I finished. Last year it was about 20 degrees. I could have used one more drink of water during the run but I don't think the course organizers were planning on global warming when they set up the water stations.
    While it's not for wimps, it's a good thing they let whiners enter; otherwise I'm afraid they would be rather short on participants. I heard some comments such as: It's too hard; It's too hilly; It's too sandy; I only like paved courses. After I made the 5 mile turn around and headed back I crossed paths with a friend who said "I am never coming back to this race." However another friend of mine was very excited about the event, and was glad he had run the 10 mile course and not the shorter one. I was glad he had too.
    Lots of people were just out for a run with friends, chatting away as the miles ticked by. Not everyone treats this like a race. Put a number on me and I have to go as hard as I'm able to that day. This was not a bad day for me. I think I was 7th overall. It did show me though that I had not been racing lately as I could not push the intensity up quite as high as usual; or maybe I was just tired from a long week of training.
    Page 2 of 2 - One of my favorite memories from the day was actually from a previous race. There was a sharp turn in the 9th mile and as I went through it I thought back to a race a few years ago that Eric and both ran in there. He was ahead of me, and I missed that turn and came out of the woods in the wrong spot—ahead of him; after inadvertently finding a short cut. I made it to the finish line before he did and he was ticked off, that I had deprived him of his first chance to beat me in a race.
    What things can you do to challenge yourself this week; this year? Let's get moving. It's ok to be a whiner—just don't be a wimp! Live Well. Live Wellington.
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