2002 Elsbernd

Good News Bad News at Where’s Waldo 2002

by Dave Elsbernd
Salem, Oregon
September 2002


Dave at Leap Of Faith

I remember this joke book from my childhood which told a ‘good news – bad news’ story. It went like this: Bad news – Joe fell out of the airplane. Good news – he had a parachute. Bad news – the parachute didn’t work. Good news – he was falling towards a lake. The story goes on and on. Bad news, good news, bad news, good news – but in the end, Joe is fine – perhaps he woke up from a bad dream.

OK, it was funny to a nine-year old. But it reminded me of Where’s Waldo. Isn’t that the nature of ultras? That’s what makes them so interesting. Can you imagine the following story? Good news – that was an easy jog through the woods. Good news – a personal best. Good news – all downhill, barkdust trail. Good news – I just finished and I can run another 30 miles! Good news – all the other runners decided to take it easy and let me win!!

So here’s my story:
Good news – I got to sleep in, being a relay runner.
Bad news – No race packet at the start.
Good news – It was waiting for me at Charlton Lake.
Bad news – Seven hours after the early start, and it was still freezing in the wind up there at Charlton Lake!
Good news – My partner came in and lent me his polypro shirt. Thanks, E. David!
Bad news – I took off and started sweating right away!
Good news – I left the extra clothing at the next aid station.
Bad news – The next stretch was sparsely treed, good deer habitat. And it’s opening day of deer season.
Good news – The red shirt and hat worked, no bullet holes!
Bad news – Here comes the first real climb, up the Twins.
Good news – What a view!
Bad news – Can’t stay.
Good news – I’m still eating up the downhills.
Bad news – Now I realize gatorade was a bad choice. My stomach is turning sour. My lower GI is threatening to follow suit.
Good news – The volunteers are fantastic! A whole crowd cheers me in to the aid station, in the middle of the wilderness. Hey, guys, I’m just a relay runner!
Bad news – Maiden Peak climb seems twice as steep and three times as long as anything I’ve ever done before. My lack of training shows. I’m spent. I suck down two water bottles and run out. This is certainly tougher than I had counted on. E. David, you get the second leg next time!
Good news – There’s water at the top of Maiden Peak, thanks to some volunteer! Another one offers me water out of his personal canteen. No, you need that to hike back out. What a great crew! And what a fantastic view! With regret, I head back down.
Bad news – Coming down Maiden Peak is pretty rough, and threatens to activate my ITBS. That gatorade is still down there.
Good news – The accupuncture treatment is working, to my utter amazement! Almost no knee pain!
Bad news – The next aid station offers me frappuchino, and I threaten to barf right there.
Good news – They rang me in with horns, bells and whistles, and offer a great deal of encouragement. They also offer me tums. Thanks, guys!
Bad news – I am reduced to a crawl. The finger down the throat trick doesn’t work.
Good news – I can smell the barn. I can still crawl home.
Bad news – It turns dark.
Good news – E. David had reminded me to bring a flashlight.
Bad news – People are passing me like I’m standing still. Maybe I am standing still. All motivation is gone. Must have a plan – run 50 yards, walk a mile. Repeat until finished.
Good news – There’s the finish line! Whew!
Bad news – I’m still sick 45 minutes after the finish, and slowly choke down my barbeque dinner.
Good news – I’m definitely coming back next year, injuries allowing! This was a great event, and I’d sure like to see the fantastic 360 degree view from the top of Maiden Peak next year! And there’s still the first part of the course to see. Although this may have been my worst ultra yet, I will be remembering it all winter. What stinking 10k or half-marathon could be a tenth as memorable as this great adventure? Thanks, Craig and Curt and all those who made this event possible!