Monday, August 30, 2010

Angela's 50 year-old F.A. 50k - Final Instructions...

Forget what you’ve heard up to now… These are the final instructions for
Angela’s 50 year-old F.A. 50k

Please read the instructions carefully as there have been CHANGES!

The run will start and end at the Homestead Hollow Shelter (NOT THE EVERGREEN SHELTER AS PREVIOUSLY PLANNED).  Angela has reserved the shelter overnight so if you plan to stay, you can sleep in the building – no need to bring a tent.  The shelter has power and lights but no bathrooms.  The bathrooms are located at the near-by parking lot and should be unlocked for the night.   

If you plan to stay the night, you will need to park in the Homestead Hollow parking lot and print the last page of these instructions (email version has the page to print) to place on your dash so that the park rangers know you are part of our group.  Anyone NOT staying all night must leave the park by 9:00pm because the gates CLOSE.  If you want to stay longer and not spend the night, you will have to park at the Park and Ride Lot just south of I-94 (at Hwy C) and run or bike in (you could leave your bike at the Homestead shelter…) 

The run will begin at 5:30pm.  You will need a light unless your name is Zach Gingerich.  There will be water available along the course. There are spigots at Homestead Hollow, the Evergreen Shelter, the parking lot at the Tower, and a water-cooler placed along the Ice-Age trail before Hwy 18 south of the road crossing that goes to Ethan Allen.  Plan to carry enough water to last you 5-6 miles.   There will not be food along the course except at Mile 7 and 24.  Plan to carry food with you.

Attached to the email is a jpeg file containing the course map.  Take a look at it while you read the written description below and I think it will be clear.  I wrote it, so it makes sense to me… but… it may not make sense to you.   Be prepared to ask questions before we begin if it seems unclear…

The Course:  Overview –

The simple version is this: One Black Loop, a long out and back on the Ice-Age and Glacial Drumlin Trail, and one more Black Loop.

Here is the more descriptive version…

The run begins at the Homestead Hollow Shelter and begins with one Black-loop in the normal counter-clockwise direction we usually run. 

Once you return to the shelter (6.8 miles) you head out on the black again, but this time you run until you hit the Ice-Age trail.  This will happen in about ¾ of a mile, after the long straight-away along Butterfly Garden and before beginning the big climbs along the tower.  It’s well marked with the usual Ice-Age Trail yellow blazes.  When you hit the Ice-Age intersection go RIGHT.  This will take you toward the Tower and eventually the Evergreen Shelter. 

You do not need to take the spur off the Ice-Age to go to the Evergreen Shelter unless you need water or bathrooms.  Continue on the Ice-Age trail as it crosses the road at Hwy C.   Watch for the yellow blazes as there are numerous trail crossings – stay on the Ice-Age trail!! You will take the Ice-Age trail for another 2+ miles until it turns to asphalt near Cushing Park Rd.  This is the first turn-around. (Yellow star on the Map – 10.8 miles)

Now you run the other direction on the Ice-Age trail.  This time you continue on, all the way to Hwy 18.  This is about 5 ½ miles away.  There are opportunities for water at the spur to the Evergreen Shelter, the spigot in the parking lot at the Tower and from the water-cooler we will place just past the Ethan Allen road crossing.

Once you get to Hwy 18 (around 16.3 miles) you cross the road and go LEFT/ EAST.   PLEASE NOTE: We usually go Right which doubles as the Ice-Age Trail – but we will be going LEFT/EAST!!  Continue on the bike path 2.1 miles to the TURN-AROUND (Red stop sign on the map – 18.4 miles).  The turn-around will be marked. 

Head back the way you came.  Cross Hwy 18 (20.5 miles) and continue again on the Ice-Age trail.  This time, when the Ice-Age makes the first intersection with the Black-Loop,  you will take it and go RIGHT. 

Take the Black-Loop heading in our normal counter-clock wise direction and run to the Homestead Hollow Shelter (Mile 24.2). 

One more Black-Loop in the normal counter-clock-wise direction and you are done.  31miles – 50k.   Hope this wasn’t too confusing – Angela wasn’t into 4 black-loops and 50 stairs repeats as I suggested?!?!!? 

 Bring some snacks to share if you can – the Homestead Hollow “Aid-Station” will be Pot-Luck.    Anything you would like to bring for after the run to share would be great as well!  Hope to see everyone there!! 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tom, Lorraine, and the Paparzzi...

The Bunks have been getting some well deserved and timely press lately...  Hope we don't have to start controlling the paparazzi on Wednesday nights at Lapham!?!?

Fellow LPTRunner, Mary Gorski, has written many pieces for Ultra Runner Magazine and had one published in the August issue that features a great interview with Tom and Lorraine.

Good friend to the LPTR family and supporter of non-traditional  sports in Wisconsin, Tom Held, posted a piece on the couple as well.  Tom's Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel Blog, "Off the Couch" is linked on our site (look right) and the direct path to the article can be found here.

Congratulations on 50 years Together!!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

InStep Clinic - Barefoot Running

Barefoot Running Clinic Aug. 23 @ 3rd Ward InStep Store - Nationally-Known Author to Host Seminar:

Learn how to run barefoot, in minimalist footwear, racing flats, or Vibram Five Fingers. Michael Sandler, author of /Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free //by Getting in Touch with the Earth/, will share tips to transition to barefoot running or how to use barefoot running as a tool to help you run lighter, faster, and more injury free, whether in or out of a shoe.  Sandler will be leading a Barefoot Running Clinic at InStep's 3rd Ward store on Monday, August 23 from 7-8:30 p.m . His book has made best-seller lists and has earned him status as the premier expert in the nation on this subject. His website, is a leading resource for information on barefoot running.  One of the topics Sandler will discuss is the benefits of running in Vibram's Five Fingers shoes, which have taken off with the barefoot running movement. 

InStep carries the Five Fingers shoes at all four locations and models will be on display at the clinic.

The event is free, however, a $5 donation to the Jenny Crain Make It Happen Fund would be appreciated.
 For more information on this event or to RSVP, call the InStep 3rd Ward store at 414-220-4160 or email us

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Howl at the Moon 8 Hour Run

Christine Crawford's Race Report...

This is my sixth running of Howl at the Moon 8 hour.  It’s run on a 3.29 mile loop and although the trail is not difficult or technical, it is completely exposed to the elements so each year the results are reflective of the weather.  This year was no different and although I could mention it was hot and humid (there I just did) and the warmest Howl to date I need to remember, it could always be worse.  The draw of the event is the large field of runners and walkers.  Marc turned away 250 entrants this year and so he said at the awards ceremony that if anyone complained or bitched about the event, they were not invited back because he had another 250 runners/walkers who wanted in. The other draw is the party after the event. 

My run was not spectacular but I was thrilled to be back at the event.  In 2008 I set the female course record.  In Crawford fashion, I went out too fast and fizzled at the end only to dig deep in the last hour so as not to let my first place finish dissolve after seven hours of hard work.  My good friend and talented runner Ellen brings out the competitor in me so I ran until I fell in a heap that year.  The event works like this; walkers must walk (no running) and for the last 45 minutes they can either go back in to complete one more 3.29 mile loop and risk not finishing therefore not counting any of that final mileage or they can begin walking the ½ mile out and back.  Runners start the out and back with ½ hour remaining or can attempt another loop but again, they would risk bonking and losing mileage if the loop was not completed when the horn blows. 

I started out pretty slow because I’ve had some recent issues with my piriformis and of course the hip hurts when I hammer the miles so I was running about two loops per hour.  Normally, I run 2.5 loops per hour.  Since I have been working in the heat and training in the heat, it didn’t bother me at first.  My piriformis started barking at me within the first hour.  Crap.  The piriformis pain started to make its way down my leg to my knee then after a few hours, the whole leg just hurt.  Whatever.  I planned on dropping after 10 loops.   I finally lapped Ellen but she was just beginning to feel good.  I did my best to keep her in my sights and we ran together but she would pull ahead.

Enter hour six…it got hot.  Felt like your skin was bubbling and it seemed everyone was walking except for me and Ellen and a few runners who would run a few yards only to give in to the heat.  In my opinion, it felt cooler to keep up a slow steady jog to generate a breeze.  I stopped to change my shoes which I never do in an ultra but my feet were hot so I put on my NB100’s.  My toenail must have gotten hung up somehow when I changed shoes because after a mile I had a stabbing pain in my foot and realized I just ripped off a toenail.  OMG it hurt badly so I stopped to rip off the rest of the nail but then Ellen got away so I sprinted to catch her and thank goodness, she wanted to take a walk break.  Then, my toenail bed wore through and THAT pain was worse than the toenail ripping off.  Seriously, I almost cried it hurt that bad.  I limped for a bit and then Ellen, being the super awesome runner she is, pulled away.  Eeeeeeee.  Pain is temporary Crawford.  

With 1:15 left to go in the event, we decided to walk the last loop together.  I don’t know if Ellen just felt bad for me or was feeling bad herself.  Since she likes competition too I assume she had enough just as I had so we strolled along.  But then, we both decided we needed ONE MORE LOOP because WE HATE OUT AND BACKS.  The out and backs are run on this narrow stretch of grass which is rather like an overgrown driving range.  It’s the worst.  So we picked it up (but refueled first-since I was in pigheaded mode and forgot to take in calories for a long time) and ran the last loop fast enough where we had time for one dreaded out and back.  I finished in first and Ellen in second.  I just love a good race.  She looked much fresher than I did in the end.  After the run I bathed myself in ice and drank copious amounts of Mountain Dew before indulging in fried chicken.

If you would like to join me next year, let me know.  The race fills in just a few days but since I was inducted into the “Hall of Fame” I can talk to the RD for you.  Ha, just kidding, I have no special privileges despite my hall of fame status.

Monday, August 9, 2010

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT - Swan Crest 100 Race Report

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT  - Jeff Mallach's Swan Crest 100 Race Report...

“The Swan Crest 100 falls somewhere in between the Plain 100 and The Wasatch 100. Take responsibility for yourself and realize what you are getting yourself into. There are grizzly bears in these mountains, and they may well be sharing the trails with you. Additionally, because of the remoteness of the trails, there are not as many aid stations as you may have seen in other 100-mile races. In this race, you will be running up to 24.3 miles between aid stations. Some of you, depending upon your pace, will be doing some of these sections in the nighttime hours with long sections of the trails that are not flagged (this is where the outdoor & map-reading skills are essential). That being said, you need to be responsible for yourself and be well prepared for making good decisions about your safety.”
                                                                                                                              -- Swan Crest 100 Runner’s Packet

Most of the adventure in a 100-mile run usually happens on race day.  In the case of this year’s Swan Crest 100 – Montana’s first-ever 100-mile race – the adventure arrived prematurely in the form of a controversy that almost forced its cancellation.   The head of a local environmental group threatened to sue the race and the US Forest Service, suggesting that an organized, “commercial” event like the SC100 would disrupt the grizzly bears inhabiting the area.  Never mind that the event was capped at 50 runners, roughly the same number that the “environmentalist” took on wilderness hikes in the Swan Range almost every weekend.
The controversy was ultimately resolved a few weeks before race day when the race organizers withdrew their permit for a commercial event (which they were not obligated to file in the first place) and instead staged the run as a family reunion, with all the runners agreeing to donate their fees to cover expenses.   The Montana Conservation Corps, an organization that gives under-privileged kids the opportunity to get out and enjoy wilderness areas, also received a share of our donation.
In a satisfying and unexpected twist, the threat of a lawsuit succeeded mostly in raising awareness of the SC100, galvanizing the community behind the event and marginalizing the influence of the environmentalist who ultimately came across as a self-appointed gatekeeper of our national forests.   In fact, one of his supporters resigned from his organization in protest, going as far as offering his private property to the race for use as an aid station. 
When I signed up for the SC100, I had a fairly good idea of what I was getting into.   I was familiar with the area, the trails and the wildlife, having taken a number of multi-day backpacking trips into Glacier National Park.  But I also knew that things would have to break in my favor to have a successful race.  The course was minimally marked; runners were given a set of topographical maps to follow and advised to hone their map-reading skills.  There was little aid; three of the seven aid stations were separated by 17-24 miles and runners would have to tap lakes and streams for water.   Drop bags were limited in size because volunteers would have to hike them up to the aid stations.  (I would have to leave my folding massage table and portable shower in the car.)  We would also be running on some relatively unused trails (one section had not been maintained for 15 years), through rivers, avalanche zones and “brush tunnels” (never heard of that before).  Lots of ups and downs, too – about 23,500 feet of elevation change altogether.
And then there were the grizzlies.  Because we were running through core grizzly habitat, bear spray was required.  If you entered an aid station without your canister, you were disqualified. (The day before the race, I learned that a wet June had kept the grizzlies – and an “exploding” black bear population -- in the lower elevations because of the abundance of berries there.  The proprietor of the lodge where we stayed also warned me about the “big cats” and wolves on the trails.  Nice.  As if running 100 miles wasn’t enough.)
Saxophonist Charlie Parker once said, “You’ve got to learn your instrument.  Then you practice, practice, practice.  And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.”  After reading about the SC100, the Swan Mountain Range, studying course maps, reading guide books and listening and talking with others about the unique challenges of running there, I decided to take a similar approach on race day:  Forget all the noise and “just wail.”
The SC100 starts in the tiny community of Swan Lake, Montana.  The course travels southeast for about 19 miles, then reverses direction and connects with Alpine Trail #7.   Runners follow the trail across the top of the Swan Crest Range, then drop down into the town of Columbia Falls 100 or so miles later.
Runners assembled in front of a campground store on Highway 83 about 6:00 in the morning.  In addition to the 44 starters, there were a bunch of family members and crew and even a few local folks who wanted to see what the race was all about.  I continued my tradition of forgetting to bring anything for breakfast, so my wife, Lynn, insisted on purchasing for me the only real breakfast food available at the camp store:  a cup of coffee and a pack of hostess donuts.  I drank the coffee, but could only finish two of the donuts.  I gave what was left in the sleeve to a little boy who I knew would appreciate the gesture, since he was standing in line to pay for a bag of breakfast Doritos.
Temps at the start of the race were cool and comfortable.  We ran a mile south on the highway, turned left on a service road and climbed for about nine miles. From there, it was all single-track.  Once on the trail, we immediately encountered shoulder-high weeds, which made it difficult to see where your feet were landing.  The weeds were so close, in fact, they ripped off my race bib.  We emerged from the greenery into a rocky avalanche zone where large pines were thrown across the trail in every direction.  Periodically the trail would reveal itself under the trees and debris, but mostly we were climbing, jumping and finding other ways around the trees in front of us.  Then back into the weeds, which was a relief.
The run to AS2 (Napa Point) was challenging and scenic.  I felt good here, but was passed by several other runners who seemed very comfortable at a faster pace.  It occurred to me about this time that the locals, or at least those runners who train on this type of terrain, had a clear advantage over the flatlanders.
At Napa Point, I stocked up and refilled my hydration pack and water bottle.  Hammer Nutrition had awarded SC100 with “super special sponsorship status” or some such thing, so most every aid station had a complete supply of Hammer products.    Only thing missing was a rack of Hammer-wear to peruse while the volunteers filled your water bottles.  Hammer was “all-in” on this run – not only stocking all the aid stations, but also hosting the prerace meeting at their Whitefish, MT headquarters, where runners received a full bag of Hammer products and other premiums.
Since the next aid station was 24.3 miles away, I spent more time than usual at Napa Point.  Back on the trail, the course turned onto Alpine Trail #7, which took us through some forests and then up to a ridge.  On both sides of the trail, fields were filled with glacial lilies, fireweed, bear grass and other native plants – green carpets dotted with bright yellow, blue, white and red flowers.  The trail dissipated somewhat, but the route was easily discernable.  Cairns were also stacked on the side of the trail for additional assurance.
The snow fields were refreshing.  I’d grab a handful of snow on my way over them, holding onto it or rubbing my neck and arms for a quick cool-down.
While refilling my hydration pack in a creek a few miles later, I met another runner whose dog had joined him at Napa Point.  I think they planned to run the rest of the race together – 80 miles – which surprised and amazed me.  When the guy spotted a pond or lake, he would call out “water!” to the dog, who would then run full speed to the shoreline and throw himself in. 
A few hours later, I was running short on water.  I passed a trickle of runoff and opted not to refill, thinking that the next aid station had to be closer than the 30 minutes it would take for my iodine tabs to work.  Bad decision.   It turns out that I was 1.5 hours away from AS 3.  Not only was my water supply low, I hesitated to take in any fuel because there was nothing to wash it down with.  Dehydrated and de-energized, I eventually crossed a stream where I drank liberally without purification.
That section of the course set me back significantly.  As I climbed to AS3, where my wife was scheduled to meet me, I wondered how far back I had fallen.  She greeted me with a cold Diet Pepsi.  I drank half the bottle immediately, took a few more sips, wandered down another trail a few yards and promptly vomited it back up.  Refreshing!  Someone’s pacer offered me a salted and boiled potato, which went down easily, and I managed to choke down a Huckleberry Hammer Gel as well. 
After resting a few moments, I regained my composure and headed 1.5 miles straight up to a rocky knob overlooking the Flathead Valley.  On my way up, I crossed paths with Heidi, a woman I had run with earlier in the race.  “I was wondering what happened to you,” she said.  “Had some trouble,” was all I could muster.  She was running strong and had a broad smile on her face.  (What is it with ultra women…and how do I get some of that?)  At the top of the peak, I collected a playing card and spent several minutes admiring the spectacular view.  Thousands of feet below me, the expansive Flathead Lake glistened in the near-dark, rimmed by the sparkling lights of Bigfork, MT on its north shore.  Swan Lake, smaller and darker, was tucked between Flathead and the Swan Range.   To my right, rows of shadowed mountain ranges running north and south through the Bob Marshall Wilderness.  No lights – just jagged ridgelines in various shades of gray as far as you could see.

Heading down from the top, I felt my energy returning and stopped at the aid station below only to turn in my playing card and pick up my hydration pack, which I had left there at someone’s suggestion.
At this point, there were six people behind me in the race.  One of them was lying alongside the trail, covered with a blanket.  Another was sleeping in the tent.  At 43 miles.  This course was brutal.
Unknown to me at the time, my wife was having a wildlife encounter on her hike back from the AS.  As she was approaching the trailhead, she heard a crashing noise in the forest.  She pointed her flashlight into the dark, but couldn’t see anything.  Instinctively, she picked up her pace and made it back to the car moments later.  As she drove slowly down the access road, a large wolf rushed out of the forest and began running alongside the vehicle.  After a mile or so, the wolf darted back into the woods – but another one emerged from the other side of the road almost immediately.  That wolf paced her downhill for several more minutes.  Given how solitary wolves are, the experience was unnerving.  Were they simply guiding her away from their pups…or had they been following her down the trail?
A mile or two later, I began looking for the intersection that would take me to Quintonken – the most remote station on the course.   As I stopped to check my map, a trail sweep came cruising down behind me in search of a lost runner.   The Quintonken junction was only a few yards ahead and we ran together for 30 minutes or so, talking about trail running, mountain biking, alpine skiing, bear encounters and living in Montana.   When we weren’t talking, he sang and whistled to warn the bears of our presence.  Eventually he sped up and left me behind.
If I was destined to meet a bear, it would be here.  I was running alone alongside a rushing river, surrounded by lush growth on both sides.  Fresh bear scat was splattered everywhere.   After a half mile or so, the greenery finally retreated and I found myself in a pine forest.  I think I crossed two rivers on this stretch, choosing to charge through the cold water instead of hopping across slippery rocks to the other side.   I ran and ran. Eventually, I came to a forest road, turned left and proceeded uphill for what seemed like hours.   I stopped twice to check my map. 
Finally, I saw the glow of a campfire on the crest of a hill.  I had reached AS5 (mile 52).
The Race Director, Brad, greeted me.
“What time is it?” I asked.
“Just before 2.”
“Hmmm.  I’m not sure about my math, but I think I’ll have to run a negative split to get in under 36 hours.  I think I can do it...if the second half is easier than the first.”
Brad paused, “Why don’t you just stop here.”
“How many people are behind me?”
“They all dropped.”
So the second half was tougher.  Incomprehensible.   A young guy who was part of the Montana Conservation Corps gave me his seat, fetched a blanket and asked if I wanted a grilled cheese and cup of soup.  As I sat there waiting, my mind was streaking in a number of directions simultaneously.  “I feel good.  I still have some miles in me.   I could catch the guys ahead of me.  But, if I can’t, all the volunteers will be waiting for me.  And even if I decide to continue, can I, since the RD suggested I stop?  Is a negative split in a 100-miler even possible?   How would I feel if I finished the race in 36 hours and 10 minutes?  Sleep would be nice….but I came out here to finish….” and on and on.
One of the runners at the campfire, Bill, asked me where I was from.  I told him Wisconsin and he said he had run Ice Age a number of times.  In fact, he had compiled a solid resume of ultras over the last 20 years, including many western 100-milers. I asked him how this race compared to the others.  “Going in, I thought Swan Crest would be comparable to The Bear, since they both have the same elevation change.  I don’t know why, but this is much tougher.  I think this is one of the hardest 100s out here.”
The race staff and Conservation Corps broke down the aid station and packed everything into the waiting trucks.  We were so deep in the wilderness, it would be a three-hour drive back to the main highway. 
We arrived at the finish area at 6:30 a.m.  I decided to wait to call Lynn until 7:00, just to see if anyone would cross the finish line in under 24 hours.  I waited until 7:10.  No sign of anyone. 
Dan Barger won the inaugural Swan Crest 100 in 24:34.  Eve Pastalkova was the first woman, finishing in an impressive 28:03.  Of the 44 starters, 20 finished.  There were only six runners under 30 hours.
Complete results can be found at:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Grand Island Trail Marathon Munising, Michigan

Christine Crawford's Race Report...

This is the 4th time I’ve run the marathon.  The event has an ultra feel to it.  I did run an extra 3 miles for a cool down so I can qualify this report as an ultra report. I ran with my friend Becky Kasten from IL for the first nine miles. Runners are required to start with some sort of hydration system since cups are not used during the event.  Heed, water and hammer gel are available beginning at mile 16 and they urge you to consume the gels at the aid stations to avoid littering or tempting any of the bears living on the island.  Scat sightings are more common than bear sightings but they are there.  This one caught me after the run.

The longest distance between aid stations is six miles and even I was running low on water.  The charm of the whole event is the ferry ride to and from the island and the fact that you can cross the finish line and dive right into Lake Superior.  I have to take credit for starting that tradition after the inaugural event in 2005.  My shoes were muddy and my legs were tired so I jumped right in.  If you wanted to, you could  paddle or even swim over to the island and run the marathon!  I included the course description from the website.  Families are welcome but must purchase their own ferry tickets.  Buses shuttle runners to and from several locations to the ferry landing.  Munising is a great little town with plenty to do.  If you want to run it next year, let me know and we can hook up with my IL friends and make it a road trip.  The event fills quickly.

The course follows the perimeter trail of the island counterclockwise up past Murray Bay and Duck Lake.  At three miles the course heads eastward into the Tombolo, up into the island's thumb and then back along Trout Bay where runners can enjoy one of the most spectacular stretches of shoreline anywhere in the Great Lakes. Runners then head up the eastern shore of the island which treats runners to views of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The northern half of the island features 300ft colored Jacobsville sandstone cliffs and the remote and exotic North Beach.   The return trail on the island’s western shore features remarkable vistas of Lake Superior. Much of the trail is shaded by lush hardwood forests.  Exposed sections (atop cliffs) blanket runners with cool breezes off of Lake Superior. Trail includes single track, two track, and narrow dirt roads. The trail is primarily non-technical.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

FA Double Feature

Fat Ass Double feature…

No, this isn’t the title to a movie from Joel Lammer’s personal collection; It describes two upcoming events hosted by Lapham Peak Trail Runners, Tom Bunk and Angela Barbera

First up will be Tom and Lorraine’s Anniversary 50k... 

They will be celebrating 50 years of marriage by hosting a 50k at the Nordic trails on Saturday, August 28th.  For any out-of-towners, the start is the same location as the Kettle 100 and Ice-Age 50.  The course will consist of loops around the Nordic trails making a run of less than 50k an option as well. The event starts at 7:00 and will feature 2 aid-stations about 5 miles apart.  Tom has rented the shelter along with a tent and some tables and chairs.  Food and Drink will be available around noon or so, although you are welcome to bring something to share as well.

Next up is Angela's 50 year-old Fat Ass...

Not to be outdone by Jeff Mallach’s well attended Funk Road Fifty last year, Angela will be celebrating her 50th birthday by hosting her “Fifty-year Old Fat Ass” (That was even fun to type!) on Friday night, 5:30pm, September 3rd.  
This one is an optional “sleep-over” as we have permission to spend the entire night at Lapham Peak!   The 50k course will feature the Black-loop, the Ice-Age trail, and some of the mountain bike trails across the road from the Evergreene shelter parking lot.   The fun starts and is aided at the Evergreen Shelter at Lapham Peak.  There will be food, drink and breakfast in the AM! 

Last year we got around 22 people for Jeff’s run – Angela claims she is way more popular than Jeff (not hard to believe really…).  Make some time, come out and run some or all of it – or even just hang-out at the fire-ring. 

Both events will be a blast!!  Gifts are banned – just being there is your present!  If you think you might make it out there for one or both, just drop me a note so we can get guestimate of how many people to anticipate!

Not so SpeedyGoat - Kevin Grabowski's Race Report

“As flatlander, you may find you have to choose between breathing and drinking.”    This was the advice of Derek Ward, a Utah resident with recent Wisconsin connections in Sussex.  He had run Utah's SpeedGoat 50k last year and found that he was breathless enough for long stretches of the race that it was difficult to drink.  Huh?!

Looking up at the 3,000 gain from the 8000’ base of Snowbird ski resort up to the race peak over 11,000’ at Mount Baldy, I had both an impending sense of doom and just a little giddiness about the adventure that was about to unfold.

The SpeedGoat 50k is the sadist brain-child of Ultra-Star and Race Director Karl Meltzer.   His goal – Set up a course that he can comfortably boast is the toughest 50k on the planet.  I think he may have done it. 

While I knew I wasn’t in top-shape, I was buoyed by the fact that I do a fair amount of hill-running and stair-repeats, and feel like I’m a relatively good climber.   I also did two 50k races this year clocking a 4:14 at Clinton Lake and a 4:07 at Double Chubb.  With the course record for SpeedGoat at around 6 hours, I figured that gave me 3 hours to slow down on the hills and still finish within an hour of the leaders. Ummmmmm…. Nice try….  Turns out with the climbs being MUCH longer, and the lack of oxygen available to flatlanders at altitude, I would spend much of the day hemorrhaging time.  I found out very quickly that I did indeed have to choose between breathing and drinking.   Breathing won out – Wasn’t even close. 

Just climbing the switch-backs up to the top once and descending would be a relative challenge, but Meltzer likes to “flirt” with the peaks.  The course relentlessly climbs and abruptly drops just as you think you might be topping out.   None more cruelly than the final climb at 26 miles. 

Here the peak appears obvious as you can see the gondola towers and service road where the 7.7 mile aid-station and your drop bag await.  Grinding up the switch-backs and eventually along the ever-ascending ridge, the goal is always in sight like a carrot on a stick.  HOWEVER, when you reach the “summit”, you run about 20’ along the gravel service road that you know leads to your drop-bag, round the corner…  And… they re-route you up another twisting single-track wall of trail.  “Only about eight-minutes to the top!” was the exclamation of the course marshal stationed to ensure all could partake of this last piece of evil.   ARRRRRGGGGGG!

And then to push it even further, not only are the climbs steep, so are the descents.  This negated much of the recovery I anticipated by seeing 12,000 feet of ascent and descent.  The elevation map showed that there would be a three-mile downhill near the halfway point and I was anxious to get there.  Unfortunately, much of it was in a wide ditch filled with boulders that ranged from bowling balls to fists.  My progress was less than relaxing and barely counted as recovery.  Along th e course there were even “down-hills” with rope assist!?!  Controlled falling was the order of the day.

The only exception to the down-hill treachery was the last 5 miles, which featured only one short boulder-field to impede your steady and relatively easy progress to the finish.  This is actually cruel as well as it gives you a chance to recover such that you aren’t wrecked at the finish and may indeed forget what a bastard the balance of the course was.  You may even be optimistic enough to sign up again next year.  I’m thinking I will… (Idiot).

Final time: 8:51 for 50k ?!?!?!?  I was actually thinking I might not break 10 hours at some point during the race.  My time was slower than most of the 50 milers I have done!!!?  Not sure about the place, but I wasn’t a factor for sure!