Monday, November 10, 2008

Door County 50 - Race Report from Christine Crawford

The Door County Fall 50 miler is run point to point starting at the Northern most point of Door County, Gills Rock traveling the western shoreline and finishing in Sturgeon Bay.  The course takes you through quaint coast-line towns, Peninsula Park, along Hwy 42 and then down some tree-lined country roads to Sturgeon Bay.  Door County is so beautiful in the fall and I enjoy the event every year. Since the inaugural event in 2006, the entries have tripled!  Categories include solo, pairs (with several subcategories) and relay teams of which there are several more categories.  I think the entry total was about 800 runners.   Ellen Erhardt and Chris Byron paired up to form the mixed pairs team of  “pork chop express”.  The solo runners started at 7am and the teams started off in waves with the quickest teams starting later.  Ellen and Byroni started at 10am. 

The weather was perfect at the start and I had a chance to chat with several solo runners.  That was really the last time I talked to anyone other than aid station volunteers for about 35 miles.  I didn’t mind the peacefulness of just living in the moment and taking it step by step.  I usually run with an iPod on in training but not today.  It was just too beautiful and I wanted to focus on my running.  As always, Peninsula Park was amazing.  The sights, scents and comfort of running through that park keeps me coming back year after year.  I ran a nice steady pace never going to slow or too fast.  I was surprised that I got to the 9-mile mark in 70 minutes.  I went over the miles in my head a few times thinking I missed something.  No, I didn’t miss a thing.  Running for the first three hours was so entertaining!  Its fun to see all the relay teams headed north to the start.  Cars decorated and painted, runners hanging out of car windows waving their arms and cheering for the solo runners.  I thought Ellen was going to fall out of the car when she and Byroni drove by me, honking and yelling “Buffalooooooo!!!!”  All good stuff.  My dad drove around and checked on me a few times and took pictures but I think he was uncomfortable with the fact that I was running such a distance.  He saw me finish Ice Age but never saw me complete a whole 50 miler; mile per mile.  I was glad that I felt good all day so I kept a smile going the entire time.  I had to bite my lip when some of the normal ultra aches and pains set in.  I didn’t want him to know how bad it hurt at times.   My husband found me jogging along on the road at about mile 35 and he was ON THE BALL!  He would run food and drink out to me.  Give me my salt pills and a few sprays of bio-freeze on my legs when needed.  He gave me a massage when my calves cramped up and then drove next to me for 12 miles.  We talked sometimes.  Other times I would just flash him a weary smile.  He cranked the tunes for me from the truck and we would sing and head-bang to music.  Ellen called his phone when I reached mile 48 and sent along her congratulations. I told her the last few miles were brutal due to the wind.  It’s too bad Byroni had to run it.  He doesn’t exactly glide through the wind at his height!  I was so pleased to finish another Fall 50 reaching my goal of a sub-7 hour finish and more pleased to see Ellen and Byroni finish as the first place mixed pairs team in 6:14:09!  We had a wonderful time at the awards ceremony although I could not stomach any free beer (such a shame!!!!)  We met in the morning for breakfast and relived the run all over again.  I hope more of you can join us next year.  I know that Stuart Kolb sent out a plea to all masters’ solo men division runners.  He asks that you start training so that you can put the young runners in their place. 
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