Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Won’t Call Me Superman: North Face 50K

Marty's Race Report - 

So I believe that many people have superpowers, even though they might not know it. For example, I postulate that Todd MUST have anti-gravity in his pocket; have you ever seen the dude run down hill? Seriously. And the Bunks have got that anti-aging thing turned up strong. I hope Tom has his retirement planned until the age of 140. And what about Julie and Angela? I mean, how can any human run for 100 miles, and then the next week run a 50K in the rain and laugh about it? Did I bump into an invisible force field surrounding them, like wonder woman in her plane?  And what about all these speedy people at LPTR? Like Robert, Kevin, Christine and Joel? I mean, if that ain’t super power I don’t know what is.


I can tell you the time. No really. I can. And I don’t need a watch or a clock.

OK, its not sexy, it doesn’t entertain anyone at parties very long, and its doubtful anyone is going to write a comic book about “Clock Man”. Its more like being a super accountant. It’s nice to have when you need it, but then you mostly forget about it. But hey, as Joel told me, “you know, you hang your hat on what you got, and go with it”.

So Saturday, dawn is about 2.5 hours away; I wake up, I don’t bother setting the alarm. A clock in my head. Punctual man.

BOOM BOOM. Thunder. Lightning strike the hour of 4 AM. Kitchen radio, I’ve got coffee on. Yawn. Time to move. What to take? What to wear? Dunno. So ALL the gear goes into the car. I’ll make up my mind later.

First task of the day. A running friend of mine had texting me asking me for my race time prediction. I chose not to answer him until I awoke. I think about it for a bit; the weather (rain) the course (easy) my training (huh? training? 2 – 20 milers since July); how I am feeling (great, rested) and text him my answer.

After my Dances with Dirt miss (short by 45 minutes, gah), I wanted realistic goal, and get back on my streak of not missing my prediction by more than 2 minutes. My last 5 road marathons I missed by a cumulative total of 8 minutes, the last two within 40 seconds total. Yes, that’s me. Time piece for a heart, 60 beats per minute… Thump. Thump.

My answer: 5:53.

I arrived at the Ottawa camp ground about 6, surprised to see that the 50 milers got off on time. I figured lightning would be the one thing that would delay the race; apparently not.

I see some familiar faces: Marcel, Joel, Jill.

Joel, by the way, has another superpower besides being very fast. He looks at me in my rain coat, and says “You gonna wear that? Man, its too warm.” ( I am guessing Joel is nuclear powered, since I never see him with a shirt on no matter how cold it is, and he never seems to sweat). “Really?” I say. “You think its warm enough?”. “Oh hell yeah.” So I ditch the rain coat.

I was REALLY glad I did (thanks Joel). I may have a superpower of time, but at around 60 degrees I can never figure out what to wear. Colder, no problem. Warmer no problem. But, rain? 60? It could go either way, and I could get cold or sweat my kester off.

Through the day, we had a little rain, a little sun, some mist on the trails. Good temperatures. The course was great; fast, flat, and muddy in a couple places (Scup wetlands, ankle deep mud yeah!), but mostly dry on the horse trails. Fun stuff, and I loved every minute of it. I got a lesson from Todd two weeks ago on how to run downhill, and put it to the test, and it worked well. Thanks Todd.

My race? Well. I could have done better (always can), and should have blown away my own prediction by a half hour. I ran into my own version of kryptonite: Intestinal fortitude. Yep. Like a clock, 20 minutes past the start and (most) every aid station, nature called.  I think I passed the same group 4 times. Each time I would get ahead of them, I was jumping off into the woods to, er, you know. Then I’d catch them again before reaching the next aid. Repeat.


But I felt great, and the running came easy. At the end, I even felt like I could have kept going at that pace. Good feeling. In the end, I ran a 5:52:52, within 8 seconds of my prediction. I hang my hat on it. I hang my cape on it.

It was a great after party, with all the LPTR gang. Joel showed his other superpower, in that he has a beer cooler that never seems empty. Really. I saw him give out like 457 beers, and there was still more in it when he left. And the thing is only 12 x 12.

Joel and Christine smoked their races, and it was great to stay and see Christine get her first place award. Yeah Christine! Joel was first place masters, and I am awed by his smoldering time. Steve ran this one as training run, and looked good as he preps for his goal race. Go Steve! Marcel finished with a great time, and it was great to see Jill finish her first ever marathon. Yeah Jill and Marcel!

Now I’ve reached 945 words, and that’s enough.

Except for a final few words about the race organizers and volunteers. Race organizers: Two words: Porta John (Two?? On the course?? TWO??? Are you kidding me??).

Volunteers: Robert, Deb, The Bunks, Craig, and the Mad Man Kevin (and the nice lady who put bandaids on my nipples) and all the rest: THANK YOU. For being there, directing on the course, for getting out of warm beds in the frikin’ middle of the night to make sure course markers were in place (Kevin you are nuts), for manning the aid stations with humor and helpfulness, courtesy and kindness.

Awesome race. I look forward to doing the Glacial 50 K in three weeks!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Christine Crawford's Race Report:

Wow, what an experience.  Crossing the finish line, pumping my arms and smiling like crazy.  Jumping into my husbands arms then over to Joel and Robert for another whirl in the air.  What a day! 

Watching the impeding storm over Ottawa lake and the light show was amazing.  My husband and I just sat at the picnic tables away from all the noise and crowds.  I was so pleased to have him as my crew.  He readily agreed to wake up at 4am to drive me to the start and crew for me. He asked how I felt and admitted that I was worried about how bad the pain might get and would I drop?  I have a hard time doing that.  I will take a beating just to stay in the game and play.  I was also burnt out from my busy work schedule but was alive with energy knowing I would be on the familiar trail of the Kettle Moraine soon.  My home and my comfort.  

I was relieved to head to the start with only a sprinkle of rain.  I'm not a night (pre-dawn) runner.  Add heavy rain and I'm walking.  3-2-1.....GO!  Sky let lose and it was a downpour.  Lightning, thunder....I actually LOVED it.  Wow!  I ran faster and faster.  I hung with a group of guys for the first 6.7 miles.  We ran in silence initially trying to navigate the trail in the rain and dark and finally, I broke the ice by breaking wind.  It was my pre-race protein drink.  Lots of silence again until I fessed up it was me.  Then the laughter.  After that, we all were chatting away. but I ran behind the guys out of courtsey.  I was running with Rolando, Felipe (from Costa Rica) and Tim.  Turns out Rolando is good friends with Joel!  Small world. 

 I was soon alone as the guys took off.  I managed to ID Tom and Robert in the dark as I ran by.  I have to admit, the first 20 miles felt really good.  I felt strong and powerful with each step.  Until I missed a step.  I caught the guys and warned them about the slippery boardwalks from Wilton to Hwy 59.  You guessed it, the next boardwalk, my feet slipped from under me and I crashed hard on my right knee and my bad right hip.  Scary.  That hurt but it took my mind off of my piriformis pain.  

I got to Emma Carlin, mile 28 and was getting down right hungry!  I ate potatoes since they weren't serving steak and walked out.  My lack of trail running (haven't done much "trail" since the Bunk 50k) started to take effect.  My legs were feeling dead already.  I have never experienced that before mile 40 of a 50 miler.  I was nervous.  I set my timer to see how far back the next girl was since I was going to retrace my steps back to McMiller for another 10k loop.  

While I was playing with my watch, the sky let open again and boom!  Flash!  Right in front of me and some approaching runners and huge bolt of lightning.  We all ducked down into the grass out of panic, it was that close.  I finally saw a girl and timed her at 10 minutes, so 20 minutes back.  O.K. I thought, I can walk some of those hills on the McMiller loop to rest my legs.  I got in to mile 35 and my husband told me the next girl was only four minutes behind me at mile 28.  Huh?  I told him he was wrong and he insisted he was right.  He said the second place girl looked more like one of the guys and that's why I missed her.  Tom said it was more like two minutes now.  I looked at Tom totally drained of energy trying to figure out how the heck I was going to run another 14.2 miles with dead legs. 

 I jogged out thinking this girl was much stronger than me today.  Probably trained for a trail ultra, probably injury free...may the best woman win.  I did all I could.  Well, that pity party lasted about 10 minutes.  I started to run.  Then I would walk and drag my knuckles and whine to the trees about how bad I felt.  I think at one point I stopped at a tree to stretch my cramping calves and told the tree that it was currently witnessing me giving away $1000 dollars.  After all the head battles, I finally dug deep and decided that since all my friends came out to volunteer and since my husband was helping me out and well, it was $1000 I was going to hold on to my lead no matter what.  Wasn't easy but I pulled away from the 2nd place female and gained 8 minutes on her in the last 14 miles.  So seeing the joy on Scott's face and the joy on the faces of all of my friends who were there was worth every step.  I will treat the whole LPTR group to pizza, chicken and spam very soon. 

Photo's are of me, dad and sister Diane.  Dad finished the 10k in 1:14!
Me and Dean-how exciting!
Me and Tom  He's the best.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Superior - Mary Gorski's 50 mile race report...

Jeff Mallach, RD of the Ice Age 50, pretty much summed up the day within minutes of crossing the finish line at the Superior 50:

"That is the longest 50 miles I have ever run."

He was right not only by time on the trail, but by distance as well.  Curiously, when one leaves the last aid at station at Superior one is told that s/he has run 45 miles.  Let's see, 50 minus 45 leaves five.  Five miles to go.  But exit the station and take a look at the trailhead sign and one notices that there are actually about seven miles before coming out on the dirt road that leads to the finish.

Is it just the new math, or does 45 plus seven equal something closer to 52?  Whatever, it's a trail race.  No need to be picky.

Before I go any further and whine about my measly little 50 mile event, a hat off to the 100-mile finishers of the Sawtooth.  By the time we 50-milers joined them, the 100-mile studs and studetts had already been on the Superior Hiking Trail for almost a day, a day that included a night of cold, brutal rain.

I and my fellow 50-mile finishers whimpered a lot about the brutality of the trail this year, the miles upon miles of ankle deep (and sometimes deeper) mud; the trails that had turned into raging rivers and the usual hills of boulders that never seemed to end.  But, we tried desperately not to do any of this belly-aching within earshot of a 100-miler.  Our event was nothing in comparison to theirs.

It's hard to think that after spending 14+ hours on the trail that you took the easy option.  "Only" the 50 (or 52?).

Like Jeff, this was the longest 50 miles that I had ever done.  I'd run Superior before but I've never taken SO MUCH time to do Superior.  Part of it was me, not the trail.  I started the day with a pair of hip flexors that seem to have lost their interest in flexing so I knew it wouldn't be a PR day.  Yet even the best of legs were struggling in the incessant mud.  Runners would huff and puff their way up and over a difficult climb, looking forward to what used to be a runable section of the trail only to find themselves stuck in what can be best described as a river of lumpy, chocolate pudding.

After 20+ miles of slogging through the pudding I thought that I'd treat my feet to a clean pair of socks.  It was a two-minute treat.  Once out of the aid station and back on the trail my feet (and new socks) quickly returned to their original state of sludge.

But again, we in the 50-miler had it easy.  The rains had just about stopped in time for our 6 a.m. start.  Fog had dispersed enough that we could see the person in front us instead of simply sensing his or her presence by grunts.

When the fog lifted we were treated to what makes the Superior Trail so darn superior to most others in the Midwest -- the scenery.  Miles from the nearest paved road runners crisscrossed (on bridges -- one of the luxuries of the trail) powerful, raging rivers.  The thunderous pounding of the water often drowned out all but the loudest of voices (often a runner yelping after yet another belly flop in the mud).

Fall colors were ahead of schedule.  We saw an autumn pallet of golds, oranges and reds.  And on the top of each peak was a view worth enjoying while catching your breath.  Lake Superior could often be seen in the distance.

So I was out there a little longer than usual.  But every cloud (or fog patch) has a silver lining.  This is the first time that I have done the last five to seven mile section in the dark.  It was beautiful to see the stars pop out, and to look down from Moose Mountain to see the lights of the finish at Lutsen.  Unfortunately, after seeing those finish area lights runners turn in the opposite direction and follow the path a mile or two away before heading back home. 

"There's the finish, right?"  said a 100-miler as I caught up to him at the peak.

"Yeah, we're finally getting close," I said.

"But the trail goes in the opposite direction?  We are going to go AWAY from the direction of the finish?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"That kind of pisses me off about now.  How about you?"

"Well, you have a point," I said as we muddled down the trail, away from the direct route down the mountain to the finish.

We all grumbled a bit in those last miles, but all of us in the last section knew that we were going to finish.  And even a slow finish is a finish that perks up the spirit.

Sometimes the toughest days can make for the sweetest finishes.  And this one -- even the "mere" 50-mile, was a sweet one. 

- Mary 

Note:  LPTR's at Superior included Jeff M. (50-mile), Deb V. (50-mile), Jim B. (50-mile), Aaron Schneider (55 miles of the 100), Brad B. (100-mile) and Steve Grabowski (100-mile) - I think that's everyone?!  More reports as they are available...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

David Ruttum's UTMB Race Report

Close friend of the LPTR family, David Ruttum, was in France for the 2010 UTMB...here's his account of the event...

Wisconsin Running Friends,

Thank you for the UTMB well wishes. By now, I am sure you heard about the UTMB debacle. In case you did not read about the event, you can refer to Bryon Powell's www.irunfar.com as well as my version.

In short, the race was cancelled after just three hours of running due to severe weather. Now, my slightly longer version. I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday 24 August. Geneva is about 1,5h away from Chamonix and at 300m juxtaposed against the foothills of the Alps. My travel books and online enquiries suggested that Geneva was warm in the summer with people swimming in Lake Geneva and sunbathing on the shores. WRONG! Geneva was cold and wet! Cold like in the 40's and 50's with cold, driving rain. First clue that maybe weather might be an issue. I drove to Chamonix on Thursday morning and was heartened to find the Chamonix area bathed in abundant sunshine and warmth. It was one of those blue bird days without any humidity- a far cry from Pittsburgh (and I am sure Wisconsin). Wow, maybe Geneva was just an aberration. Chamonix is a stunning locale. As you stand in the city centre, you are at 1070m and Mont Blanc rises not too far away to 4810m. I have only been in a few places (like Mt Kilimanjaro or Colca Canyon) where the mountains tower so far above the valley floor. I now understand the 19th century European romantic movement that created the term "awesome". Chamonix is awesome! The town has a few thousands year-round inhabitants, but on UTMB weekend was chock-a-block full of runners and their families. I love France because of places like Chamonix. Chamonix lives for the outdoors with world-class trail running, mountain biking, road cycling, mountaineering, kayaking, parapente, etc. at it's doorstep. No one looked at you twice if you were running through town in trail running atire or walking with mountaineering boots and a pack with axes, crampons, rope, etc.  Totally normal. Moreover, I could run and without changing eat amazing French food  al fresco at a beautiful French brasserie without anyone wondering why I smelled and what I was wearing. This little town had everything I love- mountains, mountain oriented people, and amazing food!

Back to the race. I completed the pre-race registration and was thrilled to have my French sister (long story, but my 24yo sister has lived in France for a long time and speaks the language fluently) with me. While the race tried to be international by translating the French into English, Spanish, and German, not everything was translated nor translated well. The UTMB has a list of required equipment (check the website) and at check-in they made sure you had everything. After check-in I went to the "salon" or exhibition area. I have never seen so many ultra running related people together! Think large city marathon exhibition and you can imagine how large this salon was. All the major European and American running equipment companies and hundreds of people representing different races were present. I bought a pair of trekking poles (or batons in French) at the advice of many people (more to come about that) as well as 3/4 length running tights (all the rage in Europe). As an aside, as one American female runner I met put-it, running in Europe is one large "Sausage fest. Like lot's of sausage. Sausage swaying all-over-the-place". Euro's run in spandex and everything is on display. Remember Kilian Jornet in WS100?  Multiply that times 2700 and you can imagine the amount of sausage swaying about during UTMB! Back to the salon, I also managed to get info about hundreds of other ultra's outside the states that I had never heard of. How tempting!

After another Haute Savoie French meal, I went to bed Thursday night eagerly anticipating race day Friday! Uggghhh. Friday morning and it is COLD and pouring rain in Chamonix. I look out my hotel window and see new snow in the mountains above Chamonix. Well, back to bed. Perhaps it will get better? Not a chance. By afternoon the sky was still a dark grey-black melange just waiting to start raining again and the temperature was below fifty. Ugghhh. New snow in the moutains down to about 2000m did not seem great either as we were going to be running up to 2800m. The race was scheduled to start at 1830 so I arrived at the start area at 1730. Bad idea as most of the other runner's and their families appeared to have arrived much earlier. I was forced to move to the rear of the starting pack. The Euro's also love loud music and they kept playing the UTMB theme music. The music was very martial and reminded me of Wagner and his Valkyries. What the hell was I getting into? Nowm back to the trekking poles. Everyone had them attached to their pack and most people had the sharp end pointed up. As most Euro's are shorter than me, it seemed like they all wanted to strike me in the eye. Next time I am wearing clear glasses. My ophthalmologist father would have had a fit.

The MC was energising the crowd of thousands of spectators. Seriously, the first few miles of the race had thousands of spectators lined behind the barricades. I felt like I was in the Tour de France as the riders move through the crowds with everyone cheering them on in a litany of languages. The start was an oxymoron in that I did not get to actually run for about 15 painful minutes! The elites up front took off and then everyone else was allowed to move. Because there were so many people in front of me and the roads are narrow it took about 15min before I could run. When I say run, I really mean trotting around thousands of Euro's holding sharp objects that want to stab me.  I managed to get stabbed in the legs and abdomen four times in the first hour alone! After the first half an hour, the skies opened and it rained hard for the rest of the three hours of running too. This made the course even more treacherous as the first three hours had many sections of wet, muddy grass singletrack. After about an hour of trying to move beyond the masses, I gave up. There were simply to many people in front of me to make much of a difference. I would have to settle into their pace and wait until they slowed down to get into my rhythm. Unfortunately this was a disastrous plan as the first two hours were mostly uphill and the last hour mostly downhill. The downhill destroyed my quads in that the Euro's put the brakes on and forced me to do the same. You guys know that I love to bomb the downhills and somehow this is easier on my quads. Well, putting the brakes on every few seconds really wrecked my quads. Not good.

At around three hours I started cruising into Saint Gervais, 21km, and was thinking dark thoughts. It was cold, pouring rain, my quads ached, I was running too slow and not at my own rhythm, and I was surrounded by Euro's that wanted to stab me. Yikes. I really needed to see my sister (crewing for me) to get my hopes-up and start thinking positive. Well, that sure-as-hell did not happen. I arrived to Saint Gervais and witnessed utter chaos. Thousands of people were milling about the aid area and no one was running. What the hell? Luckily, my sister was waiting at the entrance of the aid station and told me the race was cancelled? Again, what the hell? Cancelled? Did I just hear that correctly? The MC was chattering in lightening French and I had no idea what he was saying. My sister translated that the race was cancelled because of severe weather. Apparently, that rain that I saw in Chamonix was, as I suspected, snow in the mountains. It had snowed so much that a few huge avalances had covered the higher points of the trail at Col de la Seigne and Col Bonhommie (both over 2500m). Beyond the course being covered in avalance debris, there were white-out conditions, and the ever-present danger of further avalanches. I was devastated. Cancelled? Oh-my-god. Like a crack addict I started thinking about how I was going to get my next running high. Turns-out others acted like me and all of the runners started commiserating with one another. In hindsight, this was the beauty of the race- thousands of people from different countries getting together to celebrate what they love best- mountain running. The race organisers put together a colossal effort and repatriated all of us cold, wet, hungry runners back to Chamonix about midnight. I then stayed-up until 0300 talking to other runners and commiserating the lost opportunity.

I awoke at 1100 the next day to clear albeit cool weather. My sister and I went to get lunch and were mystified as to why people were surrounding the start/finish area. Turns out that the race organizers decided to create a reprise, abbreviated even. The organisers text messaged "everyone" at 0700 that a 98km event was going to start in Courmayeur, Italy (about 30min away from Chamonix) at 1000. Well, the organizers never managed to get the message to any American phones.  While only 300 out of 2700 runners did the reprise event, the Americans that ran were all sponsored by French companies and were notified by them. Even Geoff Roes, sponsored by Montrail, never got the message so did not run (I met him on Sunday, he is very down-to-earth and likeable). This disappointment was yet another strike. Ugghhh. Fortunately, I rallied my spirits and at that moment recognized that I was feeling what I had heard other ultra runners describe: feelings of unfinished business. Yes, I now have unfinished business at UTMB and will definitely return next year! I sincerely hope that they will allow everyone from this year's event to automatically be allowed to run next year.

After the cancellation, I ran for a few hours everyday and then enjoyed the European life of long lunches and dinners without doing anything too stressful. Okay, I will be honest, I ran for many hours everyday and covered huge amounts of vertical. In the ten days of running after the event, I logged 40+ hours and 20,000m of climbing.  Very fun. The European trails are much steeper than anything I have run in the western mountain states in USA. Karl Meltzer agreed that the trails in Chamonix were steeper than anything in Utah and used poles for the race too (he said he also used them at Hardrock).

Running is always an education. I learned how to channel my disappointment and remember that I run to make my life better and not to disappoint me. I put things in perspective and never let UTMB ruin and otherwise fantastic trip. I will be back next year and have a blast!

As for the event itself. Next year I will:

Get to the starting line at least two hours early so that I can start
in the front and be able to run my own rhythm
Bring warmer clothes
Wear glasses so that I do not get stuck in the eye with a pole
Do more leg strengthening training so that I am even stronger next year 
Remember to always have fun

So, all-in-all, a great even, but not as I planned. I am now letting the legs rest from their beating in the Alps and am strategising for Grindstone 100 on 1 October. After that I will rest again for Ozark 100 on 6 November. I asked my work for the week of Thanksgiving off so I am hoping to get back to Wisconsin in late November. I will let you guys know when I return so we can run!

Thanks again for the support. I really appreciate everyone thinking about me!


Angela's 50 year-old F.A. Report

The saddest thing about the race being over is that no longer can you ask me about my fat ass and get anything but a puzzled look. My 50 year FA 50k was so much more fun than I would have ever expected. The date of the race unfortunately was sandwiched right in between the very popular Bunk's 50K anniversary run the prior weekend and the Superior runs the following weekend. Because of this fact and that the FA was the Friday night of a holiday weekend I expected a very low turn out. However my running friends did not disappoint me!!! Amazingly 27 runners showed up to run either the full or at least part of the way. Lapham Peak Park Ranger Ed allowed up to use the Treker building as our racing headquarters/Euchre tournament facilities which turned out to be absolutely perfect and kept us from dealing with the windy, cold, wet weather in the wee hours of the morning. Many thanks go to Kevin Grawboski and Jeff Mallach for organizing the race and promoting it so well. They did everything but write my race report!!! With a hectic August in front of me, it was welcome words to hear Jeff say that they would take care of everything and I would only need to show up. I can't tell you how much thanks I give to them and everyone else who assisted on putting my FA together. Thank you all VERY much!!

Way back when we first discussed the location of the FA  I actually thought 5 black loops would be a great idea for the FA. Even though everyone I asked said it was ok, there was something about the winced eyes that made me rethink the plan. Kevin devised a fantastic 50k route that I plan on using when a 50k is required in my training plans. We ran two black loops with out and backs on the Ice Age trail in between the black loops with a little bit of a paved bike trail. The mix of the terrain of easy trail and the more technical Ice Age made an interesting route. We were provided at the beginning of the race with a nice fall breeze, this soon turned into a rainy and windy mix. The rain however let up after an hour or so into a beautiful evening with clear sky and lots of stars.

The ever swift Joel ran the entire race with Saul who was running his first trail distance over 16 miles (a natural???). They finished prior to Julie and I coming in to warm up in the Treker building and down some delicious home made soup before heading out for our last loop. The seemingly invincible Brad who completed a staged run the week before and running Sawtooth the following week was finishing up his final loop at that time as well as Marcel, who was the only runner to have completed the Bunks and Angela's 50k FA on back to back weekends!! The ever patient Julie a week after completed 100 miles hung back with me on the final loop. Upon checking my watch during the loop I was convinced at times I had to be moving backwards. We finished up the loop and the 50K amid cheers from everyone still in the Treker building a bit after 1am. Unknown to me the Angelas FA Euchre Tournament had already started and was in full swing!! The tournament finally fizzled out around 5:30 when we all decided that we needed some shut eye.

Huge thanks to everyone for attending this and making my 50 year old birthday one that I will always remember. I am very lucky to be fortunate enough to have such a great group of friends that I can enjoy my passion of trail running with. I have to pinch myself every now and then. And yes, Brian I was sad when my FA 50k was over!!!

P.S. If you did not pick up the very collectable Angela's 50yr old FA pint glass - please let me know. I have extra's.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

F.X 6-12 & 24 Hour Run

Christine's notes on the day...

I ran around a 400 meter track.  It was a good training run for the North Face 50 miler.  I talked with lots of friendly people, watched my dad achieve his goal of 20 miles and ran with Ryan Dexter for about 2 hours.  His crew gave me two massages during the event and that felt great.  Every 3 hours, Robert has us run around a cone and we changed direction.  It was windy and cool the entire time; lovely weather.  I ate subs and volunteered for a while. Robert is a terrific race director.  That’s about it.  Mary Gorski posted lots of pictures. 

Editor's Note:   LPTRunner Troy Malinowski knocked out his first century run by knocking out 100 miles in the 24 hour competition.   Nice going Troy!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Angeles Crest 100 -- 2010

The race became reality this year… no fires, no cancellations.  Angela and my entry rolled over from last year, so all we had to do was requalify by running another ultra (tough convincing us to do that!) and putting in another 8 hours of trail maintenance.

This race is known for not only its beautiful scenery, but also its hot temps and its more exposed terrain.  For Angela and I, although the hot conditions were wiped aside, the exposed terrain was not thanks to the fires of last year burning about 60 miles of the course.  The weather could not have been any more perfect for us.  Although temps were in the triple digits in the days leading up to the race, a cold front rolled through just in time… leaving us with “fall like conditions” and temps hovering near 80.  How lucky were we?!?!

Saturday morning, Angela and I got up, walked the block and a half to the starting line (Angela booked the ultimate pre-race hotel!!), and we waited for the race to start.  At 5AM, we were off to the sound of a fire engine’s horn blaring.  How about that for an early morning race start???

This course consists of a LOT of climbing and a LOT more descending.  It’s the kind of course where you look forward to the downhills as you are climbing up the mountains… but then looking forward to the climbs as you are descending those same mountains.  The race starts on a climb.  It takes you along a mountainside… and since you start pre-dawn, you get to overlook the lights of LA.  Pretty cool!  What was even better was the sunrise.  You could not beat the reddish-orange beauty that the day was bringing.  The higher you climbed the more scenery you experienced, but the windier it got.  It was insane how strong the gusts were… even pushing ME around!!

Our monster climb came at mile 13… up to 9000’+ Mt Baden-Powell.  This climb took us up 41 frickin’ switchbacks.  What was amazing to me about this climb was all the people out hiking the same trail.  It was so nice to see so many other people, outside of the race, taking advantage of the trails available to us all.  We even got some cheers and high fives from groups of Boy Scouts hiking up for their camping adventures.  Great motivation at the start of our race!

The course consisted of singletrack, portions of the PCT, dirt roads, paved roads, and sidewalks.  There was more road running than I thought would be on the course.  A portion of the course needed to be re-routed from trails to roads due to the elusive yellow-legged frog that is said to be spotted in the area of where the course used to run.  There were several grumblings about that, but to the roads we ran.

Along the way, I was able to get updates on Angela’s progress, thanks to Brian being able to hit multiple aid stations along the way.  I got word that Angela took a tumble early on and skinned up both knees pretty good.  Not being one who spends too much time in aid stations, rather than get patched up by the volunteers, she just got the blood wiped off… since anything else would have taken too much time.  Tough gal!!

Brian tied up his racing shoes and met me at mile 59.3 to carry me the rest of the way.  It was a little before 9PM, so we had a full night to run through.  Unfortunately, I had it in my head that it was just 5 miles to the next aid station.  In reality it was around 8 miles.  After not seeing anything resembling an aid station for 2 hours, I was going through one of my lows… yes, I got cranky!  I found out later from Brian that there was no difference between regular Julie and cranky Julie… is that a good thing or a bad thing?!?!

Once we got to the next aid station, life got better… thanks especially to caffeine.  It was here, too, that I met up with my wayward friend from Syllamo… Jeremy from California, who I got lost with during the 50K.  Funny how the world gets so small!

It was within the next section that marked the first time that I got freaked out during a race.  In Canada, I ran past several piles of bear scat with no problem… because I never heard or saw a bear.  But during this race, as Brian and I ran in the dark, through a wooded area, we heard something walking on the hill above us.  The footsteps sounded larger than a squirrel, so we figured we would make some noise to alert our presence, so whatever was in the woods would be frightened away.  Unfortunately, the footsteps were following us along the trail.  It’s amazing how quickly you can run despite how dead your legs are.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to see a switchback lead us away from the stalking creature.  I have no idea what was watching us in the woods… and I don’t think I want to find out.

Daylight came the second day and brought new life to the legs.  Brian and I were getting close and that only pumped me up.  It was great to hit the mile 89 aid station, since that meant it was pretty much downhill from there.  Unfortunately, about a  mile past the aid station, heading along the trail, we needed to straddle a tree trunk.  I heard some buzzing and looked back… but by that time, it was too late.  BEES!!!  Brian took off like the wind.  All I heard was OW OW OW!! as he zoomed by me, swatting at his back end as the buggers were attacking him.  If you want to hear the ultimate sacrifice of a pacer, ask Brian.  The poor guy took about 10 bee stings, while his runner suffered none.  Puffed up arm, bleeding knee, and burning butt… he continued on.  What a trooper!

Luckily, the last few miles were uneventful.  We made it off the trails and on t the streets of Altadena.  A left here and right there, we headed to Palo Alto Park… where there was a crowd to cheer the finishers on.  It felt great to finish this race, but I definitely missed crossing the finish line with the person who lead me to sign up for the race in the first place… Ralph.  Although he didn’t run step for step with me in person, like so many other races we entered… he was definitely there to spur me along through my tough times.

Brian, Angela, and I learned an important lesson at this race.  Regardless of whether the race director states that he will pair people up at the finish line to make sure everyone gets back to their cars (this was a point-to-point race)… it can’t hurt to find your own way back to your car without the RDs help.  Unfortunately, after the race, there was never an announcement to pair out-of-staters up with rides… so the few out-of-staters without crews were left stranded, with no money and no phones.  Not a good feeling to have!  Lucky for us, we had a savior in the form of the medical director of the race, Tom.  He drove us back to our car and back… a round trip of nearly 3 hours for him.  Without his help, we would have had to resort to a taxi ride… which some other may have had to do.  This experience definitely opened our eyes to help out other out-of-towners that come to enjoy our Wisconsin races, without the benefit of crews or pacers.

Great travel companions, meeting some amazing athletes, beautiful scenery, awesome volunteers, amazing generosity of a complete stranger… we definitely had a memorable experience at the AC100.

Bonus - Angela's Race Report:

Brian was a huge help by meeting up with us at aid station providing assistance with bottles, reminders of what is ahead, lots of encouragement and smiles. It was a great lift to run into the aid station and see him. The trail was beautiful providing great views of the surrounding areas. Unfortunately I had stomach issues around the 38mile mark that I was able to finally bring around but unfortunately that left me as the last runner. I was successfully making aid station cut-offs until I got slightly off course not knowing that I was following the markings of another race from a couple of weeks ago. I circled an area 3 times thoroughly confused hoping that somehow someone would appear that would show me my error. The deadline to the next aid station was 5am. That never happened. The time just ticked away. The fellows from the 75mile aid station located me around 7:30am. Even though I am disappointed with how the race ended for me, I was happy that I was able to get the stomach issue resolved in order to run through the night in Angeles National Forest – it was a beautiful night with a full moon and lots of stars. I have some great memories etched in my mind of the night. Julie made us all proud and with Brian’s assistance finished with another solid performance. On Monday the three of us headed over to Venice Beach to rehydrate – and hydrate we did!!!! It was a great fun running trip with great fun friends.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The LPTR Buzz...

It's been a busy couple of weeks for the LPTRunners...

Craig knocked off a 100 mile finish in his first crack at Leadville -

Angela and Julie (and super-one-man-crew Brian) were out at Angel's Crest 100 -

The Bunk's had their well attended 50th Year anniversary 50k out on the Nordic trails -

Angela's 50 year-old FA 50k (and euchre tournament?!) was held this weekend -

Robert race directed the Badgerland Striders 24 hour run out at the Germantown High School track - other LPTR's participating included Christine, Troy & Steve (others?!)
See interviews with Christine and Robert here...