One of my favorite things about running is the people. I’ve met some amazing humans on the trails, and through the online running community. Running is such a unifying sport, and it’s an honor to have gotten to run for so many amazing groups, even though I’m a back-of-the-pack girl! Being an inaugural member of Team First Light Racing is especially dear to me because this race group was built by my friend Chris. If you’ve been reading my blogs, Chris is the guy who helped start Lone Star Running Project, the mentoring group I’ve been part of for the last few years. He is also the one who completed the Unogwaja Challenge in South Africa in 2017. AND he the race director for the race I featured here. Chris has built one hell of team for his new organization. His goal is to spread love for running, love for the trails, and a sense of community. Trail running should be INclusive, not EXclusive. To that purpose, I’ll be taking the next few weeks to introduce you to #TeamFLR and #racefirstlight
Wayne Schlosser is my spirit animal. He is kind, nurturing, funny, and really loves Taco Bell. In fact, on road runs Wayne has been known to pick up pennies and nickles that he sees, in order to buy disgusting amounts of super cheap (possibly dog food based) “Mexican food”. Wayne has also been known to hamster around very small loops for days at a time under the guise of “fun”. When not running, Wayne enjoys reading, chamber music, and spending quiet nights with his cat. He is a father, father-in-law, and grandpa. He loves with a quiet ferocity that is unequaled, and I am truly honored to know him.
For introductory purposes, I asked Wayne a series of loosely running-related questions, which you can read below:
Q: What do you do “in real life”?
A: I am a veterinarian working for the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. I conduct risk assessments for various policy options related to food borne disease.
Q: What was the race (including location and distance) that hooked you?
A: I’m going to talk about the race that hooked my on ultras because I do love running long. In 2014 I decided to try the 50 mile event at Hell’s Hills at Rocky Hill Ranch in Smithville, TX. It was my first trail ultra and my first 50 miler. I had no previous trail experience. My only previous ultra experience was a 50K race at Surfside Beach in 2011. Hell’s Hills was so much harder than I expected. I had an unrealistic expectation of how fast I could do the race based on my road running experience. I was able to maintain a good pace for about half of the race but then started to fall apart. No longer confident that I could maintain a fast even pace, I wasn’t even sure that I would be able to finish. I did finish but I was now hooked on ultras. They are both easier and harder than marathons. I could race about two marathons a year but I can race 10 or 12 ultras. With a marathon or shorter road race I usually have an idea of how I will do based on my training. With an ultra, it’s always a surprise. How cool is that?
Q: What do you consider your biggest “failure” as a runner? What did you learn from it?
A: My biggest failure came at my first attempt at the Snowdrop 55 hour ultra in December, 2015, which at the time was held in Sugarland, TX. I went into that race with big plans to hit at least 150 miles. I had two 100 milers under my belt and thought I had it all figured out. I ended up going home early on New Year’s Eve with 103 miles. I was so disappointed with myself. Whatever I learned from that race it wasn’t enough for success because it wasn’t until I had two more failures that I was finally able to finish with 150 miles in December, 2018. I have learned that on multiday events the last day is very important and that I need to rest enough so that I am reasonably fresh on the last day.
Q: What do you consider you biggest running, but non-racing, accomplishment?
A: Is making friends an accomplishment? I meet and learn about so many people when I am running and racing. It’s gratifying helping each other reach our goals. Despite differences if someone is on the roads or on the trails they are more like me than different from me.
Q: What do you look for in a race? What “makes a race” in your opinion?
A: Number one: does the race take care of the runners? I ran a large marathon some years ago and when I finished I was directed down a chute where I was allowed one bagel, one water, one orange, etc. The race organizers were more concerned with their bottom line than whether the runners had a good experience. So I tend to be drawn to the smaller races where there is a friendlier atmosphere. Other than that, I’ll run just about anything: 5K, marathon, ultra distance – they are all fun and challenging in their own way.
Wayne will be running the 50 Miler at the Green Ultra at Millican, hosted by First Light Racing. Come say hi, and run some miles with him! After that, you can catch him at the Do Stop, also through #racefirstlight