The 2019 Washington Island Ultra

I’m a little behind on race reports, so I’m going to knock out four posts in the next four weeks. This first one is depressing.

Washington Island Ultra Relay: July 26th, 2019

This race takes place on Washington Island, the first island off the ‘thumb’ of Wisconsin. The course is made up of a 0.25 mile swim in Lake Michigan, 10 mile bike course around the island, and a 2 mile out and back run from the campsite. Teams or individuals do as many loops of each ‘sport’ in either 8, 12, 24, or 36 hour competitions. It’s a really relaxed vibe, with racers camping out at the transition area.

I did this race last year, completing 208 miles between swimming, cycling, and running, in 24 hours. I thought I could eclipse that total this year by minimizing down time and consuming more calories. Unfortunately, that’s not how things played out.

In the end, I swam 2.5 miles, biked 110 miles, and ran 18 miles, calling it quits about 13 hours into the event. I wasn’t hurt, and certainly could have kept moving, I just didn’t want to be miserable any longer and knew the harder half of the race was ahead, so I gave up.


It’s easy to look at my training for this event and say I was in no physical shape to endure 24 hours of exercise, but neither was I last year, and persevered for all 24 hours. There are levels to suffering in these dumb little events and I was just scratching the surface.

This race was a sober realization that who I think I am doesn’t line up with the objective results. I was a pretty sorry sack of shit when I quit. I hate quitting. I hate viewing myself as a quitter. So I’ll be back next year for retribution.

This was a depressing post to write, but I figure I’m not painting a complete picture if I don’t complement the achievements with the failures.

(SPOILER ALERT: Don’t worry, the next three race reports turn out better)


3 thoughts on “The 2019 Washington Island Ultra

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s