Chris Petruccio: Part Two, Discovering Ultras

September 23, 2012 admin News

That night I got on-line to look for more races and with the first click I had found it.

THE BURNING RIVER 100 MILE ENDURANCE RUN. At that very moment, I knew what I wanted. ULTRA. I stayed up most of the night just looking at the website and staring at that buckle.

In the morning, I told Missi I’m gonna run a 100 miles. She advised me to find someone who had done it before and ask them to help.
 As usual, I didn’t listen to her at first. I just ran up and down the street, back and forth every night until I got tired. By December 2011, I finally figured out this wasn’t gonna cut it. I hopped on line again and found NERC.

Missi and I joined the club and went to our first meeting in January 2012. Along the way to that meeting and the ensuing months, we met probably the finest collective group of people God has put on this earth – the running community. NERC’s February meeting fell on Valentine’s Day. Missi suggested we go. They were showing the movie Hood to Coast and she thought it would be fun.

 At that meeting I met Lindsey Baird. She turned out to be my first running buddy and man could she run. Lindsey took me on my first trail run in early March of this year.
That night we agreed to run the Shamrock 15k together. By this time I had decided that I didn’t want my running to be about me anymore. Running was changing my life from the inside out and I wanted the same for others. Somewhere along the way I met Pam Rickard who has like others become a trusted friend. Pam introduced me to the Outrun group and Runwell.

I will always be grateful for her in doing so. In Runwell I discovered exactly what I was looking for,to promote recovery from addiction and to inspire individuals to lead healthy, active lifestyles. The Outrun group?  Well, just thinking about these people makes me smile. Forget about the running, they make me want to be a better person. Kevin Tenkku was the first I told about BR100. When I saw the smile on his face, I knew I had found my man.

Pam thought we were nuts. Turns out she is the craziest one of the bunch. Zach Johnson also made himself available to me, and would spend time talking with me about nutrition and training tips. By mid April, Lindsey and I had done the Shamrock 15k and the Toledo half marathon together. My training was going very well and I was sporting a Runwell team jersey.

My quest for ultra was clearly in sight. O24 was coming up near the end of April so I posted on the Outrun wall that I wanted to put a relay team together for the event. Sure enough, just like ultra runners do, people who I had never met before agreed to sign up for the team and help teach me the ropes. I was amazed.

 Against the advice of many, I was running a lot more than I should have been but I was on a quest for ultra.
In just a short time I was up to 50, 60 miles a week and my legs were starting to feel it but I had to get ready for O24. It was going to be my coming out party to announce to the world, I am Ultra.

Boy did I announce it. Tore my quadriceps muscle and got carried away by Lindsey and my wife.

However, some good things came out of O24. I got to meet Linda Quirk face to face for the first time. What a beautiful person. Also met Tapatha Knupke who has also become a respected and trusted friend of mine. After O24 I spent the next 12 days unable to stand up let alone walk. Many of people encouraged me during my recovery process. Kevin hooked me up with Dr. Tim Keyes from Solon Spine and Wellness. Dr. Keyes got my leg back in shape but by this time the Cleveland Marathon which I had pre-registered for had come and gone.

In fearing reinjury, BR100 was off the table too. It didn’t bother me though, I just wanted to be able to run again and be with my friends.

I started running/hobbling again sometime in mid to late May and in June I ran/walk in the Lake Health half marathon as a show of support to my teammate and friend Pam as she marched across the Gobi Desert in China. By early July my leg was finally 100% again. Thanks be to God (& Tim Keyes).

I ran the Lake Erie half marathon in August. A couple of miles from the finish I hooked up with some guy. We pushed and encouraged each other along the way. We both pr’d that day by 10 minutes. Turns out he ran Toledo as well and we finished just a few seconds apart in that event too. Clint and I are now Facebook Friends and share a common bond. Also met Jane Timmins for the first time. She spotted my Runwell jersey.
Pam is our common denominator. Had some good laughs that morning. Missi and I made a weekend out of it. We spent time with Tap ,who also came to support me, and her kids at Mill Creek Lodge. We had a great time. After running so well in that event, I was once again on a quest for ultra.

Click here for Part Three, Pre-Race Planning !

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