Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ice Age 50 - Kevin Grabowski's LPTR Race Report

Crazy weather and a crazy good field were the most prominent features of the 2010 Ice-Age 50.  Top national class runners came from both coasts to sample our beautiful trails, compete in the Montrail Ultra Cup series and vie for two automatic berths at the Western States 100.  The manic weather changed constantly, but mostly included damp and cool conditions that led to some hot times.   

Our LPTR crowd fielded an amazing 18 runners in the 50-mile race.  A fast pace was set early by the race leaders as they blasted through the first 20 miles and dragged a crowd with them.  The field eventually strung out a little, but the usual big gaps between runners were not there this year as the race for the top 20 remained tight throughout.

Friend of the LPTR family and current Pennsylvania transplant, David Ruttum, dropped almost 45 minutes from his time in 2009 and motored to a 4th place finish in a sterling time of 6:44:34.  (Way to mix it up with the big boys Dave!!)   

My run was a testament to the depth of the field as I finished 11th overall for the third year in row despite dropping 18 minutes in last year’s race and another 24 this year to clock a 7:23:50.   At the current rate, I may have to break 7 hours next year to keep my 11th place streak alive?!?!

In the men’s 45-49 age division the LPTRunners dominated, grabbing the first 4 spots.  Joel Lammers led with a 13th overall and 1st in the division, throwing down a 7:26:26.  Dave Dehart was only 3 places back in 16th place with a time of 7:37:26 and Robert Wehner & Ron Bero had a near photo finish (in Ultra terms anyway) with an 18th and 19th place in 7:52:49 and 7:52:56 respectively.

Breaking up the “men’s club” was Christine Crawford who cruised to a 3rd place in the women’s race and 17th overall while posting a time of 7:41:06.  You know she was chomping at the bit and thinking about chasing down the race leaders.  The past year has been a test of her will as she has remained patient and conservative in her return to racing after suffering a broken hip at the Kettle 100 in 2009.   She will be returning to the “scene of the crime” in early June as she tackles the 100k at Kettle this year.  (Look out!)

Another amazing performance in the women’s field came from 50-mile rookie and LPTRunner Cassie Scanlon debuting with an 8:01:25.  Her time was good for 4th woman, 21st overall, and 1st in her division!  Wow!  Her post race declaration that she was never doing it again was tempered by the fact she made same declaration about the 50k a few years back…  She has recently relocated to Colorado but we are claiming her anyway as once you are a Lapham Peak Trail Runner, you are always a Lapham Peak Trail Runner!!

Craig Swartwout also had a nice race coming in 51st place with a time of 9:14:06.  His legs had to have felt better than they did around this time last year when he had recently completed the McNaughty 150 miler (that’s not really the name, but it ought to be…).

Lapham Peak Brewing Co. brewmaster and our ambassador to Minnesota, Matt Patten, was the next LPTRunner across the line in 9:44:55.  His performance may have been altered by spending the night before the race at the Grabowski homestead and eating my cooking (What were you thinking?!)  Matt supplied the post-race homebrew which featured offerings like: Confusion Corner Coffee Stout,  Angela’s Bloody Knees Red,  Larry’s Liquid, and Getting Chicked Ale (It always leaves a bitter taste…).

Another major race highlight was our fearless leader Todd Egnarski closing the chapter on his 10th Ice-Age to join the 500 mile club!!  Julie Treder ran with Todd most of the way and it was great to see them finish together in 10:04:30.  Julie received an age group award for her efforts on the day.  LPTRunner, Chris Derosier, was not far behind the duo as he finished up in 10:09:22.

Angela Barbera scored an age group award with her performance, running a 10:29:35.  Jim Blanchard and Deb Vomhoff also added to their long ultra resumes by finishing in 10:55:49 and 11:08:38. 

Ultra-Rookie Cobbie Behrend ran conservatively and flirted with the cut-off times throughout the day.  In the end he was able to finish comfortably with plenty of time to spare as he got his first 50-miler done in 11:45:47.  Congratulations Cobbie!!

LPTR email list lurker, Troy Malinowski, finished his first 50-miler as well on Saturday.   His time of 10:53:01 was good for 147th place.  Now when will we see him on a Wednesday night?!?!?!

We have occasionally seen Aaron Schneider on Wednesdays and it was great to see him take a crack at his first trail 50-mile race on Saturday.  Aaron has run the Door County Fall 50 (9:31 in 2009) but this was his first time doing the distance on the dirt.  Hope it made him a convert as he met the challenge finishing in 10:35:37.

The 50k race included three LPTR entrants.  Brian Seegert led the crew placing 18th overall and getting an age division award for his 4:39:20 finish.  First timer Jaime Lee was successful with a 6:05:25 in her first crack at 50k while Trish Diaz dropped 24 minutes from her debut last year in finishing in 6:06:09 this time around.  Well done all! 

Missing from this year’s LPTR - 50k field was Jamey Anderson who ran the last year but is still on the mend with a stress fracture in her foot.  (Hope it’s healed up soon Jamey!)  Also, notably absent from the finish in the 50-mile, was Brad Birkholz.  Brad started the race despite some serious calf troubles in the previous week, but quickly pulled the plug.  Lay off the stair-repeats this week Birkholz!!

In the end, the best LPTR performance of the day had to go to our very own Jeff Mallach.  In his first year as the Ice-Age race director, Jeff managed to pull off a flawless and highly competitive race.   Positive comments from both front-runners and back-of-the-packers bode well for the future of this classic Ultra.   Obviously Jeff had give up running a race he loved to be the director and we all get to benefit from his sacrifice – Thank you Jeff!!

Bonus Race Report from Dave Dehart:

This is the one race I gear up for every year.  I enjoy everything about it.  It was great having Mallach at the reins and I agree that it was superbly run.  Great job Jeff.

Anyone that listens to me knows I just go with what I have.  Run comfortably and look for a hot spot in the last 15 miles or so.  I was pleased with my training, though I really never felt I had a high end gear this year.  I try and set a pace goal and felt 8:50s per mile was high end.  That is what I averaged last year.  

From the beginning, I just ran it like a training run.  I didn't feel crisp and I didn't feel tired.  I was happy to let others I know run ahead.  After 5 miles, I knew if I could average 9:00 it would be a good day.  I caught Ron at 6.5 miles and was happy to have someone to run with.  We separated a couple times, but for the most part ran together through about 28.

During this period things just remained the same.  No real issues other than what I was eating and drinking left me feeling full all the time.  No issues, just felt bloated.  Watching the leaders come back I had us around 26th with Christine just ahead a few spots.  We would catch up and run with her on the way back through Highway 12.  It was good.  Two people I run with, but I didn't talk a lot.  I wasn't struggling, just felt like a typical training run.  I just could not find the gear...yet.  

In the early woods part of the woods to Duffin, we split.  I get to where I don't want to hardly walk at all.  Caught one guy in the woods to Duffin, but he was determined to hold me off.  I passed him soon after the Duffin aid station.  I drank about 20 ounces of flat Mountain Dew there and was hoping to catch a spark.  I did not, but things stayed the same.  

I assumed there would be people ahead to run down.  There was not.  I pushed along and did not pass anyone until just passed Confusion Corner.  I was in about 20th place.  I kept going, again not struggling, felt full, and in search of a hot spot which usually comes by then.  Passed one guy in the pines and again no one else to be seen.  I soon realized this year had some experienced runners.

Paul, my outstanding crew guy was encouraging me to stay with it, a few people would be coming back.  Saw Mark Lundblad at Horseman's and we wished each other well.  Honestly, I felt exactly the same as the beginning, not bad or good, but maybe a little indifferent.  That's when Paul yelled at me to get on my horse and ride.  

Out to Emma I'm hardly seeing anyone.  I'm hoping to get there in under 30 minutes, so I can break 7:40.  Soon people start coming back and I received Lapham intelligence from Grabowski and Lammers.  Sure enough three people are about 3-5 minutes ahead of me at Emma.  I am not eating or really drinking anything and as I turn to leave Emma, I see Christine fairly close behind.  I get there at about 6:10 and know I have to work to stay ahead of her.  This motivates me and I run back in 27 minutes to Horseman's and pass two people.  I drink about 10 ounces of Coke, pop a couple electrolytes and decide not to carry, drink, or eat the rest of the way.

I catch Robert just leaving Horseman's and now set my mind to covering the last 6.5 in an hour.  Fairly uneventful, I'm tired, but moving well.  Two miles from the finish my calf is cramping and I'm trying everything to prevent it from lurching up.  I do and finish in 7:37:26 for 16th overall.

What went well?  Knowing the course, steady pace, not panicking over anything, and just making what I believe were good eating/drinking decisions.  What I want to work on for next year is not be 179 pounds and get more miles in.  Perhaps more speed to increase the cruising pace.  Was real happy with my finish and got out about all I could out of my run.  Sure, no magic carpet ride this year, but no real bad patches either.  That is what I mostly aim at.

Great runs by many.  Wish I could have been up with Kevin and Joel, but that gives me something to shoot for next year.  Christine was an inspiration and a motivator out there.  Running with Ron made the miles fly by.  Robert really went for it and my hats of to him for his blood and guts attitude.  

The highlight of the day was seeing Dave Ruttum blister the course and Todd get his 10th finish.  Good job by everyone else...Julie, Matt, Angela, Chris, Cobbie, Deb and anyone else I may have over looked.  

See you there next year.


  1. Well done to all! Love the new blog photo :)

  2. I agree.... that new blog header is pretty awesome.

    I have a few pics I will forward on.

    Thanks LPTR for allowing a non Sconnie to hang.

  3. Brad so needs to grow back that gnarly beard! Great race report and congrats to all the LPTR gang. I was thinking of you all while working at REI that day. Good luck next month at Kettle!