Why Run 50?

It was mile 25 and my daughter heard my plea: “I’m so tired. I just want to quit.” I was exhausted from four and a half hours of trail running in the Minnesota Northwoods and felt nauseous thinking about running the course again in reverse.

At 9 years old, Cady didn’t quite understand why, when I had just said I wanted to stop, I was about to turn around and head back. “Just stop, Mom.” Simple logic.

My husband, on the other hand, pulled me up out of the chair I’d just crumpled into and got me turned back toward the finish. “We’ll see you at the next aid station!” Somehow he’d tricked me into moving again.

The Minnesota Voyaguer Ultra is a 50-mile foot race on some of the most beautiful and rugged trails I’ve ever run. It’s rocky, rooty, hilly, and muddy with a few stream crossings, scramble-on-your hands-and-knees ascents, and slide-on-your-butt-descents. For the first 25 miles, it’s more fun than anything else. But at the turnaround it becomes a test of wills, an exercise in mental toughness.

So as I started to climb the trail out of the Duluth Zoo, I began thinking about why I was running this distance. What it was that was keeping me going. I came up with a few reasons that, even in my post-race return to sanity, sound pretty compelling:

My kids had fun lots of fun playing, but they knew that race day was all mine.

1.)   As a mom, there are few things I do that are JUST for me. This race, this weekend, was all about me. Like it or not, it’s something my kids need to experience. They need to see Mom as an individual, her own person with goals and aspirations. Hopefully it’s something they’ll remember (and replicate in their own way) when they have children of their own.
2.)   Self-confidence isn’t always easy to come by for me. Running 50 miles reminds me that I am worthy and capable of much more than I sometimes give myself credit for.
3.)   There is a sense of community I feel when running these races that is unmatched anywhere else. It’s not like a quick trip through a water stop during the marathon or 5K. It’s people taking the time to figure out what you need and get you back on your way. Each individual’s finish is really a group effort. I love that.
4.)   Trail runs are beautiful. There is a sense of peace when running in the woods that I don’t get anywhere else. Trail runs are the perfect excuse to run through mud, and splash through puddles and streams. I get to “wear” the beauty that surrounds me, and that is pretty cool.
5.)   I enjoy the solitude of the run. It’s fun to start out with a group of runners, but I really enjoy the alone time offered in the middle and late portions of a trail run when there isn’t anyone around me. It’s a great time to think, or as is sometimes required, to turn off my mind and just focus on what I’m doing.

Coming into and aid station, excited to see my hubby and the girls.

As the day wore on and I got closer to the finish, I grew increasingly excited to see my husband and daughters at the aid stations along the way. My body was tired, but knowing they were waiting for me kept me moving at a steady shuffle. Maintaining that slow jog helped me catch and pass a number of runners, all of who offered enthusiastic words of encouragement.

I crossed the finish line with my daughters in 10:27:54 (6th woman, 1st masters woman). I’m a little sore, but feel much better than expected. Big thanks to my husband, Tony, who pushed food on me at each aid station (who knew potato chips on PB&J would taste so good!), and kept me going with salt, fluids and his amazing smile.


Crossing the finish line with the girls (who wouldn't hug me because I was way too sweaty!).



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10 responses to “Why Run 50?

  1. Wow Insurance Pickle, a little sprurised you called out mbrcatz. mbrcatz is pretty good on commercial insurance too. I would say you are both fairly knowledgable in general.I have to agree with both of you to an extent. None of the normal expenses associated with pregnancy would be covered, but potential complications might be. Obviously, you need to read the policy thoroughly to determine whether coverage exists for a particular issue. I would agree that you probably shouldn’t travel until after your baby is born, but that is for the baby’s sake.

  2. 5k

    Congratulations! I am a running addict myself…

  3. Jennifer Wiseman

    You’re so inspiring Laurie. This made me cry!

  4. Reading your race report got me fired up. I’m currently training for my 3rd marathon and ultras are starting to creep their way into my to do list. Ive been saying ‘sometime before I’m 50’ but I’m afraid your report moved a 50 miler up on the agenda:). That’s great you got to share it with your girls and show them that somedays are about mom too. That is something a lot of moms struggle with.

  5. Thanks for the comments, ladies. It was an amazing run; I’m already sold on running it next year!

    Christina, there is nothing measly about a Couch to 5K program! You should be proud of your efforts and the wonderful example you are setting for your kids! Go get ’em!


  6. Jayne

    Laurie K I love you girl. You are such an inspiration. Way to go baby! So proud of you and what you are doing for YOU and your daughters. Congrats 🙂

  7. Congrats! Impressive beyond measure!

  8. Sandy

    Finally a race report :-). LOVE IT!! And, a big hearty congratulations for not only finishing but finishing at the top. XO

  9. SO AWESOME! I’m still working on a measly Couch to 5k running plan BUT I’m on the way! Go mama!

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