Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fluid Athlete Spotlight William Ansick

Few athletes in the world maintain the determination to run 100 miles in a row. Fluid athlete William Ansick not only has the ability to accomplish this feat, but competes on a national level. This is William's story about the grueling struggle to accomplish such an amazing test of physical endurance.

Race morning was a brisk 50 degrees, which being from Alabama I was not used to at all. Along with the temperature was the elevation, we don't have much of that here either. As the race began I found myself running towards the front of the pack and feeling great. However, as we started I first major climb up to 9000 ft I encountered my first problem with a bit of elevation sickness. With some advice on my breathing at that altitude I was able to recover and continue on at a better pace. On the way back from the turn around, going down a 5 mile decent I caught my foot on a rock and tore my calf muscle and some other muscles in my lower leg. But not knowing it at the time, i gathered myself and continued on. By mile 50 I was dealing with bad dehydration and had lost over 6 lbs but was able to regroup and still continued on. I had some stomach issues at mile 76 and was throwing up, but my coach and crew did a great job of just getting me out of the aid station and back on the trail. At that point I teamed up with an older more experience runner(Karl) and we decided we were going to finish this race together. At mile 90 we realized that we could make it under 28 hours if we pushed hard. Leaving that aid station we started a 1200 ft climb to the tallest peak on the course. Karl and I had been passing people all night and as we made the last climb we continued to pass more people(I believe 4 more) and at the summit stopped only long enough for the mandatory weight check and some liquids and we were off. We ran hard the last 6.7 miles and when Spooner Lake was visible we picked up the pace more and were running at around 7:30 pace with two miles to go. But it paid off and as we rounded the turn to the finish my watch read 27:49. My original goal was to go under 24 hours, but with so many problems I was just happy to finish, and very happy that we pushed hard at the end and at least made it under 28. It was there at the finish that I realized I had done something serious to my leg. It had been bothering me since I fell but I never let it rest long enough to really tighten up, but as we sat there at the finish it started to swell and become very painful. That night I had to go to the doctor because my leg had gone numb and i was starting to worry, and there he told us that I had torn it. Back home, I went to an orthopedic to get it checked out and I tore a couple of muscles, but the tendons are still in tact so recovery won't be too bad and I should be back to racing and training in a handful of weeks. Looking back on it my coach, my crew, and even myself are surprised I was able to finish with that kind of injury. That finish got me 25th overall of a 160 registered for the race and 8th male in the USATF 100 mile national championship.

We wish William the best of luck on his recovery and we cannot wait to see what happens next in this athletes endurance career.

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