When: Friday, April 28, 2023
Where: Sylvan Hill Park, Wausau, Wisconsin
Race Format: Backyard Ultra, 4.167-mile loops/yards every hour
Results: Officially a DNF – 6 loops/yards, 25 miles – 48th out of 58 starters
Website Link: https://www.wausaultra.com/backyard
2023 WausaUltra Backyard Race Report
It’s hard not to like this race. The course is trail and is varied and is a ton of fun. The race directors are top-notch. I had looked forward to it for months. And then I ran it and it beat me up, not like last year by falling on the fifth loop, but physically wore me out by the time I finished the first loop. But I enjoyed every minute of it.
Fortunately, I had my crew chief/wife Kari with me to help me with all the junk I brought and to make sure that I wouldn’t end up like last year. We opted to stay at a nearby hotel for the night to avoid the hour-long drive in the morning. We had plenty of time to get up, have a great breakfast, and then head to the race to set up our tent.
The course was very much like the year before. A little bit of sloppy and muddy conditions, but nothing a trail runner hasn’t ever dealt with. By the end of loop 1, I felt pretty beat up and I was already calculating how many loops I might be able to complete. The goal was to do 8-12 loops, but the course forced me to reconsider that. I was now hoping to do as well as I did the year before and get at least 5 loops finished.
I had some great conversations with some of the other runners. Cody, Ashley, and Robert were great to run with, as well as many of the others. Everyone was having a great time.
The weather was pretty good this year as well. Last year was a little colder, but we were all in shorts this year.
After finishing the sixth loop in 57 minutes, I didn’t leave myself much time to get some food and I had decided that I would start the next loop but probably wouldn’t finish it. I made my way back into the corral with a fresh water bottle and started walking when the seventh loop began. As the others pulled away, I gave a half-hearted effort to keep up, but it just wasn’t happening for me. I was done. I decided to walk up the hill and back down the next which would put me near camp. Kari met me at the bottom of the hill and I told her that I was taking a victory cool-down lap. We decided to walk up the next hill and around more of the loop and ended back at the camp, with an additional but unofficial extra 1.5 miles. I walked up and told the race directors that number 159 was dropping from loop 7. I rang the bell and thanked everyone for the well wishes and congratulations. Then Kari and I began packing up.
I could make a dozen excuses why I dropped out when I did, but it all really boiled down to being uncomfortable running across the highly technical rocky terrain on tired legs. It lead to me falling last year, and I just didn’t want to repeat that. So, I’ll take my 25 total miles, my awesome WausaUltra race swag, and my finisher medal, and live for another race. Time to heal up and begin training in the summer for the fall races I have signed up for.