If you think you’re in top physical shape, try this for a challenge. Try running from Mason City to Waverly and see how you feel the next day.
That’s basically what NIACC cross country coach Curtis Vais did on his summer vacation.
Vais completed the Black Hills 100-kilometer race in Sturgis, S.D., on June 23 in 19 hours, 8 minutes and 21 seconds.
“There was not much walking going on the next day,” Vais said. “I was sore — very sore. It took a couple of days before I was doing much.
“It was about a week before I started running again.”
One-hundred kilometers translates into 62.1 miles. Mapquest.com says it is 62.8 miles from Mason City to Waverly and is the equivalent to just over 248 laps at your local high school track.
If one runs back-to-back marathons, they’d only be at 52.4 miles with another eight miles remaining to reach Vais’ feat.
Vais was 19th overall in the annual 100-kilometer race through the Black Hills and seventh in the 30-39 age group.
The overall winner was Marc Melville of Huntington Woods, Mich., who finished the 100 kilometers in 12:36.48.
Now that’s really impressive.
And the temperature on that late June day in South Dakota was 93 degrees.
“It was hot that day,” Vais said. “The course is tough up there — kind of rocky. I knew it was going to be a tough course.”
Running 62.1 miles on a flat, soft surface on a cool day would be tough enough.
Now throw in hills and heat and you really have to be in shape to finish such an event.
“You need to figure out when you’re going to walk,” Vais said. “I really got bogged down about the 40-mile mark. The heat really started to get to me.”
Vais said aid stations were set up along the course about every 10 miles.
He said the first couple of stations runners would stop for a couple of minutes.
The time at the station increased later in the race.
“You did your best to cool down and stay hydrated,” said Vais, who said he took up to 12-minute breaks during the latter part of the race. “They’d have water, ice and sandwiches for you. Sometimes it’s not about how good of shape you’re in but about how smart you were.
“You’d have to make sure you’re getting enough calories.”
Vais’ original goal was to finish in 14-15 hours.
He knew early on that he wasn’t going to hit his initial goal so he shifted it to finishing in 20 hours.
Once he knew he was going to break the 20-hour mark, he walked the final 2-3 miles to the finish line.
“The last six miles I was just walk/jogging,” Vais said. “The last two or three I walked the whole way. I just shut it down.”
And when he finally crossed the finish line after 100 kilometers, he was satisfied with his performance.
“It was a good feeling,” he said. “It was painful.”
So now that Vais has completed the 100-kilometer race, what’s next?
The Black Hills event also has a 100-mile race along with the 100-kilometer race and a 50K race.
“Sometime I’d like to try the 100 mile,” Vais said. “That would be the next step.”
And this comes from a guy who was a sprinter during his college days.
Reach Kirk Hardcastle at 421-0540 or email@example.com.